Harold Pinter: The Lovely Few

Interview with Harold Pinter
Conducted by James Grissom
By Telephone

"The satisfaction is in the writing and the rehearsal. Years later a letter might arrive from some far-off place that the play helped someone or enraged someone or inspired someone, and that gives a tiny flash of satisfaction. But the immediate reaction is never satisfying, because people will come prepared for what they wanted or expected your work to be, and you will be criticized for not writing three acts or for not being Tom Stoppard or Tennessee Williams. People come for the nostrums they most like, and it doesn't matter, really, what you've given them: It simply wasn't what they wanted. Steak is quite delicious, you know, but if your heart was set on trout, the steak is in for a bad evening. No one praises the steak--they bitch about the missing trout. This happens with plays and books and films all the time. Most of the time--listen to me, most of the time--people do not see what you tried to do or hoped to do, because they're thinking about what they wanted you to do or what they would have done, if, of course they had the talent and the will. So you go back to writing and you go back to rehearsal, and you fulsomely love those glorious actors who try to get what you did across to those lovely few who may understand that."


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