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Copy of Harold Pinter: Mountain Language

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Jade Podmore

on 5 March 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Harold Pinter: Mountain Language

Adam Atlasi, Oliver Cumins, Jack Heaton, Sanchia Kirkpatrick, Jade Podmore, Becki Smith, Kathrine Stevenson, Georgie Sykes. MOUNTAIN LANGUAGE Becky Smith
Adam Atlasi
Georgie Sykes
Jack Heaton
Kathrine Spencer
Sanchia Kirkpatrick
Oliver Cumins
Jade Podmore Harold Pinter: Mountain Language

This presentation will discuss our choice to re-stage Harold Pinter’s Mountain Language. We will explain and outline the contextual significance of staging the play today and also our dramaturgical, senographic and performative choices through our concept of a Touring Community Project. Born 10/10/1930 in Hackney, East London.
Billington: "life-and-death intensity of daily experience" before and during the Blitz heavily influenced Pinter’s later works; it left him with profound memories
"of loneliness, bewilderment, separation and loss".
Pinter strongly opposed to the Cold War: became a ‘conscientious objector’
Pinter described his early plays from the perspective of the ‘politics of power and the dynamics of oppression’.



Pinter strongly opposed the 1991 Gulf War
1999 NATO bombing campaign in Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War.
The United States' 2001 War in Afghanistan, and the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.



Pinter called Tony Blair a "deluded idiot"
Compared the administration of President George W. Bush to Nazi Germany.
He stated that the United States:

"was charging towards world domination while the American public and
Britain's 'mass-murdering' prime minister sat back and watched"


“A bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the conception of international law." HAROLD PINTER THE WRITING CONTEXT OF MOUNTAIN LANGUAGE CONTEXTUAL SIGNIFICANCE FOR TODAY: WHY STAGE THIS PLAY, NOW? PRODUCTION CONCEPT A COMMUNITY PROJECT… STAGING AND USE OF LEVELS... DRAMATURGICAL, SCENOGRAPHIC AND PERFORMATIVE CHOICES… JACK HYLTON ROOM
- Perfect space due to the Balcony and various Levels.
- Levels and Balcony facilitate an atmosphere of oppression; guilt in the case of the audience.
- Guilt: audience is a spectator of the oppression occurring on stage; they are caught in a zone of inaction, which
interpolates the audience into the oppression on stage.


MICHEL FOUCAULT: PANOPTICON
- Adapted from Jeremy Bentham's original prison design.
- Through Panoptic theory, Foucault explores the
concept of oppression through constant visibility.
- Audience viewing from a higher level in a state of inaction
creates the effect of visual oppression that Foucault applied to society.

COMMUNITY PROJECT?
- We need to be adaptable to other spaces and facilities.
- We would need: basic and easily transportable staging blocks as a means of creating the levels. We coulpotentially
do this by positioning the audience seating onto blocks, whilst the action takes place on the floor to recreate the
effect of the balcony.
- Potentially ‘In the round’: maintains the effect of Foucault's Panopticon and the concept of constant visibility
applicable to the Panopticon. STAGING AND USE OF LEVELS… TO CONCLUDE… Foucault, Michel, 1977, ‘Discipline and Punish’ cited in, A Critical and Cultural Theory Reader, eds. Antony Easthorp and Kate McGowan (Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2004), pp. 94-101.

National Geographic, 2013. Vanishing Languages. [online] Available at http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/07/vanishing-languages/rymer-text
[Accessed 3/3/2013]

Tibet Oral History Project, 2012. Oral History Interviews. [online] Available at < http://tibetoralhistory.org/interviews.html > [Accessed3/3/2013]

Human Rights Watch, 2013. Tibet Since 1950: Silence, Prison or Exile. [online] Available at < http://www.hrw.org/legacy/pubweb/sperlingcont.html> [Accessed 3/3/2013]

Billington, M., 1997, The Life and Work of Harold Pinter. 1st ed. Faber and Faber (Limited :Queen Square London) BIBLIOGRAPHY CONCLUSION TARGET AUDIENCE...

Guilt: audience is a spectator of the oppression occurring on stage.
Audience caught in a zone of inaction.
Interpolates the audience into the oppression on stage.
Oppressors on a higher level, the oppressed on the lower.
Levels within the rankings with higher ranked officers on slightly higher levels.


Foucault explores the concept of oppression through constant visibility.
Audience viewing from a higher level in a state of inaction visual oppression


Adaptability.
Basic and easily transportable staging blocks to create levels.
Positioning the audience on blocks.
Recreates the effect of the balcony.
‘In the round’: Foucault's Panopticon
Every 14 days a language dies.
By 2100, more than 7,000 languages spoken on Earth may disappear.
Official language policies and incentives are put into place to encourage people to learn and speak the language of the state.
Children often learn a dominant language, not their parents native language.
The rate of language disappearance has accelerated dramatically in recent years.


Mandarin Chinese, the official language of Beijing, is also the language of the Tibetan government .
92-94% of Tibetan’s speak their native language.
Children attending secondary school are taught in Mandarin.
Our piece is not about Tibet, but more about a situation which would resonate with the Tibetan people.
Holds universal theme of language oppression


Ai Wei Wei – political activist, uses the arts to confront the Chinese Government.
54 years after the failed Tibetan uprising, they are still suffering.


Reaching out to school students in Hong Kong through performance and workshops
Applying to the Amnesty Arts Fund
Schools in Hong Kong
In particular United World College
(Li Po Chun)


Raise awareness of Tibet’s situation
Preserve Hong Kong’s native Cantonese Billington, M., 1997, The Life and Work of Harold Pinter. 1st ed. Faber and Faber (Limited:Queen Square London)

Human Rights Watch, 2013. Tibet Since 1950: Silence, Prison or Exile. [online] Available at < http://www.hrw.org/legacy/pubweb/sperlingcont.html> [Accessed 03/03/2013]

Foucault, Michel, 1977. Discipline and Punish cited in, A Critical and Cultural Theory Reader, eds. Antony Easthorp and Kate McGowan (Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2004), pp. 94-101.

National Geographic, 2013. Vanishing Languages. [online] Available at http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/07/vanishing-languages/rymer-text
[Accessed 03/03/2013]

Tibet Oral History Project, 2012. Oral History Interviews. [online] Available at < http://tibetoralhistory.org/interviews.html > [Accessed 03/03/2013]

Standing Committee on Language Education and Research. ACTION PLAN TO RAISE LANGUAGE STANDARDS IN HONG KONG, [online], < http://cd1.edb.hkedcity.net/cd/scolar/html/finalreport_en.pdf >, [Accessed 04/03/2013].

UWC. Mission and Values. [online] available at <http://www.uwc.org/about_uwc/mission_and_vision.aspx > [Accessed 04/03/2013]. BIBLIOGRAPHY We have aimed to show you how we have developed our performance and why we chose to stage Pinter's play in this way. We also hope we have been successful in presenting to you, how we would hope to organise this performance if it were to become a touring performance as part of a community project designed to raise awareness about the threat to the Tibeten language.




We will now take any questions. WELCOME EXTINCTION OF LANGUAGES LANGUAGE: TIBET AND CHINA POLITICAL OUTLOOK PROVOCATIVE POLITCAL STATEMENTS THE PLAY HOW WE PLAN TO HELP OUR TARGET AUDIENCE: WHY? JACK HYLTON ROOM MICHEL FOUCAULT: PANOPTICON COMMUNITY PROJECT OUR INSPIRATION THANK YOU FOR WATCHING Absurdist nature of the text against a naturalistic/realistic acting style.


Army wear provides visual separation from the oppressed. it felt appropriate to have them in powerful regimented costume. For the oppressed characters we chose to have dull coloured clothing reflective of something that would be worn by ‘mountain people’.


Atmosphere created by the door makes a noise when it is accessed from the outside. We incorporated this into our piece as a distinguishing feature for officers and army personnel entrances.


Minimal use because we wanted a raw performance that plays with silence. If we took this piece touring to different communities it might not be as readily available.


We chose to have lighting that is adaptable, easy to manoeuvre but still powerful enough to create the ambience we required. Shadows on the back wall provide another element to the piece. PERFORMANCE STYLE COSTUME SOUND USE OF TECHNOLOGY LIGHTING Oppressive behaviour towards the Kurds from the Turks.


Pinter denied this contextual link.
May have done this to maintain the universal potential of the play.


This play has been described as 'Pinteresque'.
It shares features of writing style with Pinter's other work, however, it is far more politically explicit than the earlier work. POTENTIAL MOTIVE DENIAL? 'PINTERESQUE' MOUNTAIN LANGUAGE Set in a prison and consists of four short acts. The underlying theme of the play is oppression and the forbidden language of the Mountain people.


Young woman and Elderly woman have come to visit their husband and son.
We witness the forbidden language for the first time:
'Sergeant: You may not speak you Mountain Language mountain language.'
Young woman does not belong to the mountain people.
Sexual discrimination: Sergeant touches the young woman inappropriately.


The elderly woman has come to visit her imprisoned son.
We witness the abuse and cruel treatment towards her.
She is hit by the guard for trying to speak her language.


Prisoner is badly treated and then dies in front of his wife.


The Elderly woman is reunited with her son.
The oppression appears to be lifted as she informed that she is allowed to speak.
She cannot speak or hear language: this reinforces the everlasting oppression. PRISON WALL VISITORS ROOM VOICES IN THE DARKNESS VISITORS ROOM
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