Sad to hear about Henry Woolf. If you’ve never seen it, check out experimental found footage style short Skinflicker, about a group of domestic terrorists. And Monologue, written by Pinter and directed by Chris Morahan. It’s just Woolf and he’s superb.
As a schoolboy, Harold Pinter took on bullies and fought with fascists. Later, as a playwright, he took on the entire critical establishment. Henry Woolf, who is appearing in a revival of The Hothouse, relives his lifelong friendship with the writer.
A group of determined solipsists is how I describe the six of us, because we talked about Hackney in the late 1940s and late 1950s, and our lives are at the core of the operation of the universe.
We met most of the time at school—six friends including Harold Pinter and me—inspired by the shining example of our English teacher Joe Breerley, and put our lives in First place, put the world second.
Well, there seems to be too much of the world in 1947. The massacre enveloped us. The atomic bomb burned Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The Cold War was made to keep the US economy running. The things prepared for us look dim. We can prove it is the last generation. no future. There are no children. US. Have we been troubled by this? Discuss our unfortunate fate until wee hours? Not a little bit. Through a silent agreement, we put the everyday world aside. Once we breathe the air in which it was infected, we disappeared.
None of us have money. We talked for hours as we walked, talking and laughing, arguing endlessly, quoting our favorite dramas, poems, and novels. Pinter is the front runner. He always brings new authors: Samuel Beckett, Henry Miller, John Dos Passos. He will drag us to avant-garde movies in protest: Un Chien Andalou, L’Age d’Or, Le Sang d’un Poète-Buñuel, Dalí, Cocteau.
Then there is the theater. Joe Brearley took us to see Robert Helpmann and Margaret Rawlings in John Webster’s The White Devil. We have never seen anything similar. We hurriedly shouted: “There is a plumber in my guts who is laying pipes”; “Oh, I have a permanent cold”; “My soul is like a ship in a black storm, driven by me from nowhere. “. Sixty years later, it is still possible for Harold to say from the Duchess of Malfi that “the time is ripe for bloody audits and fatal complaints” or “I want to hunt badgers under the light of an owl.”