Leitheatre’s next production is The Homecoming by Harold Pinter. This disturbing, enigmatic and darkly comic play about a warring North London family is on at The Studio, Potterrow from Wed 16 – Sat 19 May.
Pinter, one of England’s greatest modern playwrights, was also an outspoken social commentator and renowned for his witty put-downs. He wrote many of his best-known works in the 60s, but continued writing and performing right up to his death aged 78 in 2008.
The Homecoming won the Tony Award for Best Play on Broadway in 1967, and the 40th anniversary production was Tony nominated for Best Broadway Revival, showing how the play has remained popular with audiences and critics alike.
College professor Teddy, the eldest son of a working-class family, returns to his childhood home after living in the United States for several years. Teddy brings with him his wife, Ruth, who initially seeming to be a fish out of water, quickly comes to be accepted by the family in a way Teddy could never have planned. The sexual tension mounts as Ruth teases Teddy’s brothers and father, and the men taunt one another in a game of one-upmanship, which ends badly for more than one of them.
Director Lynne Morris has loved the plays of Harold Pinter since she was introduced to them by her Higher English teacher, who himself was a huge admirer of the playwright and his work. She states:
“The first serious play I ever saw was Pinter’s The Birthday Party, but my favourite was always The Homecoming.”
“Pinter’s skilled writing and lack of judgement ensure The Homecoming retains its hold over viewers’ imaginations. Is it a Freudian study with subconscious Oedipal desires? An ethological study of humanity? Sexist and degrading or feminist and empowering?”
“It can be all those things and because Pinter never moralises or resolves the situation, you’ll leave with questions buzzing in your head about the characters, their past and their future.”
“Someone asked me recently if I thought it appropriate these days to do a play which has themes around the violence and exploitation of women. I said I thought that recent events make The Homecomingmore relevant than ever. And apart from this, it’s just a very funny look at human interactions.”
The Homecoming is @ the Studio at Festival Theatre, Potterrow, Edinburgh from Wed 16 – Sat 19 May
Tickets available from Festival Theatre Box Office on 0131 529 6000 or online.