Those Pauses are Pregnant

hand cupping ear

You can’t see but I’m pregnant.

Someone recently asked me how the actors were doing in memorizing their parts for Bangkok because “there are a lot of words.”  This put me in mind of Harold Pinter – English playwright who died the year he received the Nobel Prize. Pinter is famous for his pauses.  All of them pregnant.  Even the headline of his obituary in the New York Times was “Harold Pinter Playwright of the Anxious Pause”, and there is one learned paper entitled “Staging Pinter: From Pregnant Pauses to Political Causes”.  Pinter himself worried about the pauses – that if they weren’t acted just right, they would seem melodramatic.

One has to be a supremely confident actor to be on stage seemingly doing nothing.  You know what line comes next, so the inclination is to just get on with it.  Before it starts becoming uncomfortable.  Same goes for the playwright.  But Pinter relished the discomfort, the actor’s perhaps but mostly the audience’s. 

The most I manage in the text is ‘beat’.

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