~ Posted by Robert Butler, July 18th 2012
Some playwrights reveal more warmth in their work than in their public persona. Especially when they've gone out for a drink or a meal. I had a friend, a student at the time, who saw Harold Pinter sitting on his own in a pub in Oxford. He went up and said, "I'm a huge fan of your work, can I buy you a drink?" Pinter replied, "No."
On another occasion, Pinter was at Le Café Anglais in London with the novelist Andrew O'Hagan. The waiter was taking their orders.
Pinter: I'll have the fish toast with the parmesan custard.
Waiter: No problem.
Pinter: I wasn't anticipating one.
But this may not be how his character will be remembered. When our deputy art director, Martin Lovelock, went last week to the Pinter Theatre to see the Rattigan/Hare doublebill, he bought some drinks beforehand and was surprised to see what good value they were. He checked the bill.
The receipt said: "Harold Pinter Happy Hour".
Robert Butler is online editor of Intelligent Life
Picture Martin Lovelock