Playwrights => Beckett, Bond, Pinter discussion => Topic started by: Iain Fisher on May 23, 2008, 04:22:39 PM

Title: Pinter and his illness
Post by: Iain Fisher on May 23, 2008, 04:22:39 PM
'Michael Billington interviewed Harold Pinter in Turin.  These quotes come from The Guardian, 14 Mar 2006.  Part of it covers Pinter's recent illness- when he performed Krapps Last Tape he had to perform in a wheelchair.

"MB: Can I take you back over the last extraordinary year. You've won the Wilfred Owen prize, the Franz Kafka prize, the Nobel prize for literature, now the Europe Theatre prize. Has all that public recognition helped to sustain you through a difficult period physically?

HP: Well I've been through a number of gruelling experiences some of them quite gruesomely funny in a way. I attended a rather exhilarating festival of my work given by the Dublin Gate Theatre last October for my 75th birthday. I was leaving Dublin the next day and, as I was getting out of the car at the airport, I slipped and gashed my head on the stone slab of the concrete pavement. My wife, who is also here, turned and found me covered in blood. I spent four hours in hospital that night in a pretty terrible state, got back to England the next morning, started to recover and woke up two days later to discover that I'd been given the Nobel prize for literature! So my life over the past year has, quite literally, had its ups and downs.

MB: What effect did the Nobel prize have on your life?

HP: Well for a start it was a great surprise. Quite unexpected. A chap phoned me at about twenty to twelve from Stockholm and said "Good morning, is that Harold Pinter?" and I said "Yes." He said, "I'm glad to tell you you've won the Nobel prize for literature." I said, "Have I really?" He said, "Yes." I said, "Thank you." The next step really was that I was asked to write and deliver the annual Nobel lecture. I then found myself in hospital again. I had a very, very mysterious skin condition which emanated from the Brazilian jungle. I should explain I've never set foot in the Brazilian jungle but I shared this very distressing physical condition with the Brazilian Indians. Anyway, I came through that and was writing the Nobel speech when the phone rang and it was the doctor saying that he'd looked at my blood tests. He said, "You must come into hospital immediately." I said what do you mean by "Immediately?" He said, "Now, within the next five minutes."

I'd actually just finished the speech so it took me about 10 minutes to get to the hospital. Shortly after I arrived I found myself in intensive care and found it extremely difficult to breathe. There were lots of doctors around and my extremely anxious wife. I then realised, for the only time in my life actually, that I was on the point of death. Because if you can't breathe, that's it. And I'd never been aware before of any such extremity. But I didn't die, the doctors got me through it and here I am today."

You can read the full interview here
books.guardian.co.uk/departments/artsandentertainment/story/0,,1730554,00.html#article_continue (http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/artsandentertainment/story/0,,1730554,00.html#article_continue)

Title: Re: Pinter and his illness
Post by: Acero on August 21, 2010, 03:55:08 AM
Harold Pinter is a great performer and writer. I remember the time when he performed in a wheelchair. The fact that I've definitely watched at that time.