The Homecoming by Harold Pinter

Thehomecomingonbroadway.com, is a website fully devoted to the play The Homecoming by Harold Pinter. Here you can learn about the plot, symbolism and characters among other interesting information about this fascinating play. This play was written by Harold Pinter in 1964, published in 1965, and premiered on June of that same year at Aldwych Theatre in London. It was staged in Broadway two years later, winning the Tony Awards for best play, best performance by a leading actor, best performance by a featured actor and best direction; it was also revived on its 40th anniversary at The Cort Theater in Manhattan. The play is set in an old house in North London during the summertime, and its characters are Teddy, Lenny, Ruth, Sam, Joey and Max.

Max is a 70 year old retired butcher, his brother Sam is a 63 year old chauffeur. Teddy, a philosophy professor in America; Lenny, who has a nondescript profession; and Joey, demolition worker and wannabe boxer are Max's sons and Sam's nephews. The only female character in The Homecoming is Ruth, Teddy's thirty-something wife who he brings from America for the first time to meet his family. During his six year absence, Teddy has procreated three sons with Ruth, while back in London the all male household seems to be crumbling under the pressure of barely tolerated coexistence. The interaction between guests and hosts will lead towards an unexpected conclusion. Ambiguity, dramatic irony and an open ending are all fixtures of The Homecoming, as is the case with many a Harold Pinter play.

The London premiere of The Homecoming was directed by Peter Hall and featured Royal Shakespeare Company players Paul Rogers, Ian Holm, John Normington, Terence Rigby, Michael Bryant, and Vivien Merchant. The American premiere in Broadway, New York, had the same cast, except for the addition of Michael Craig in the place of Bryant. Four decades after its original U.S. run, The Homecoming was both broadcast on BBC Radio 3 (with Michael Gambon, Rupert Graves, Samuel West, James Alexandrou, Gina McKee and Harold Pinter himself as Max), and revived on Broadway (featuring James Frain, Ian McShane, Raul Esparza, Michael McKean, Eve Best, and Gareth Saxe). The latter was nominated for the Tony awards for Best Revival of a Play, Best Actress in a Play and Best Featured Actor in a Play.

As is common with the work of Harold Pinter, early criticism seemed to miss the point of the The Homecoming, mistaking its potential for multiple meanings for meaninglessness. The play, however, has aged well, and repeated readings and plays elicit the discovery of new layers of content and context. Currently, it is regarded as one of Harold Pinter's masterpieces and a milestone in modern drama.

 

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