© Julien de Lemos
Nightmarish Satire by Harold Pinter
Created in December 2007
"Simple truth can often be something more terrible than ambiguity and doubt. Harold Pinter
Harold Pinter theatre is similar to Beckett and Ionesco’s: the same refusal of any dishonest compromise, the same contempt for ideological lesson, the same existential questioning, the same musical conception of dialogues and monologues, the same brutality of structures and the same taste of ambiguity, a strange humour which dares to take the risk of tragedy.
Hot House is a youthfull play with a strange fate that was written in 1959 and shelved by Pinter, forgetting its existence until he enthusiastically rediscovers it in 1980. "Hot House" is unquestionably the most violently satiric and jubilant work of all of his plays. The characters are the executives of an undefined bureaucratic institution. Patients, whom we never see, are known by their number. Is it a retirement home, a hospital or a concentration camp?
Being a ferocious satire about power and ambition, funny and terrifying at the same time, "Hot House" is the work of a young author. It belongs to what we call the “theatre of threat ". Harold Pinter explores, with a Kafkaesque humour, the inherent permanent danger to language (misunderstandings, unspoken, not heard at all) and the behaviours that result from it (paranoia, sadomasochism, schizophrenia).
I asked the actors to convey this condition, this cheerful sadism and explosive atmosphere of this "greenhouse". The performance area is closed, more in the style of jar than a bunker: because, as in "1984" by George Orwell, or in Brazil by Terry Gilliam, the Hot House protagonists have the alarming certainty that they are being scrutinised…. as actors.
Jérémie Le Louët