No Man’s Land

Date(s) - 2 Dec 2011
8:00 PM - 10:30 PM

Sydney Opera House Drama Theatre

No Man’s Land

Captioned Performances: Wednesday, 30 November at 1pm and Friday, 2 December at 8pm at Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House

Sydney Theatre Company and Queensland Theatre Company present No Man’s Land by Harold Pinter


In a smart, upper class living room, litterateur Hirst and the scruffy poet Spooner drink vodka and talk about the past.

Spooner doesn’t belong here. He is in Hirst’s domain. When two younger men – Foster and Briggs – enter the room it becomes plain that Spooner’s presence has upset the status quo. Is this Hirst’s domain or theirs? And why does Spooner want to be a part of it?

Even after Spooner has been left alone, locked up in the darkness, he still implores Hirst to allow him to stay. Like most of Harold Pinter’s outsiders, Spooner becomes entangled in a situation that he can neither get out of nor function within.

Written by a mid-career Pinter in 1975, No Man’s Land is a haunting, enigmatic and darkly comic meditation on memory; its unreliability, the impossibility of it recording absolute truth and its potential to be used as a means of manipulation. It was a subject that preoccupied the playwright and that he returned to in a number of plays, including Betrayal and A Kind of Alaska.

Quintessentially Pinteresque, No Man’s Land is complex and layered in meaning. The precision, playfulness and humorousness of Pinter’s writing results in a piece of theatre that is as wry as it is perplexing.

Director Michael Gow will make a welcome return to Sydney Theatre Company after a 15-year absence, during which he has been running Queensland Theatre Company. No Man’s Land is a play Michael has long dreamed of staging. About it he says: ‘This isn’t a play with a grand narrative arc or explicit motivations. It’s all about the actors, living moment to moment. It’s an examination of people in a complete state of being stuck. It should be very funny and exhilarating on stage.’

Pinter wrote No Man’s Land for British theatrical stalwarts Ralph Richardson and John Gielgud… it’s been a long wait but now two of Australia’s own most accomplished stage actors – John Gaden and Peter Carroll – take on these incredible roles. As Hirst and Spooner they will play two men from entirely different backgrounds who somehow find a fascination with, and understanding of, each other. Savouring Pinter’s precise, spare dialogue, linguistic games and famous silences, this new interpretation of a modern classic is a must-see for Pinter aficionados and novices alike.

Warning: Frequent strong language

Duration: 2 hours, including interval

Venue: Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House


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