Sam West

Harold Pinter: 1930-2008

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Harold Pinter was the greatest writer of dramatic English we had. He wrote mouth-filling meals for actors, where what you want is who you are, and what you say to get it is provoked by what was said to you only a second earlier. I got to say his words on stage, screen and radio, and I count myself lucky.

His first full-length play, The Birthday Party, contains what Pinter came to think was the most important line he ever wrote: "Stan, don't let them tell you what to do." At 18 he had become a conscientious objector - a decision which marked him as a non-conformist for life. But Pinter's work isn't just dry, agit-prop drama of resistance.

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