When I was 20 years old, I worked for a season as an assistant director at the Soho Poly Theatre in London (now called the Soho Theatre). For its time, it was a cutting edge fringe theatre, made even more vivid and relevant by Verity Bargate, one of its founders. Nobel Prize winner, Harold Pinter was one of the playwrights who, at Verity’s invitation, tried out his new material in her little stuffy but charming basement theatre.
I assisted directors, primarily the magnificent Donald Sumpter (yes, Maester Luwin in the Game of Thrones). I also, on occasion, served Verity’s liver pate in the tiny cafe, and I helped with props and sound effects. (My mother remembers visiting me at the theatre on the day I had to cry like a baby off stage.) I proudly earned enough money to pay the weekly rent for my room.
I remember Harold Pinter as a blur of energy with large eyeglasses, and as someone who never spoke unimportant words. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2008. I wish I had known him better, but I doubt he would have wanted to know me better. I was a very naive 20 year old. I am honored, however, to have worked with this great playwright so, so many years ago.
Happy Birthday Mr. Pinter!