“This is maybe Pinter’s darkest work, which confronts the profound difficulties and dangers marking human relationships and above all the precarious relationship between the sexes”
This is how Peter Stein – the undisputed Master of theater of the second half of the 20th century – commented “The Homecoming” written by the Nobel laureate in 1964.
Peter Stein was very young when he fell in love with “The Homecoming,” and the idea of staging the work never left him since he saw the world premier at London’s Aldwych Theatre in 1965 performed by The Royal Shakespeare Company and directed by Peter Hall.
That same year Stein worked as assistant and playwright on the production of the German premiere of the play at the prestigious Kammerspiele in Munich, Bavaria .
The years went by and after five decades of maturation Stein’s dream became reality. And so the work which the Berlin director loved so much, and which when it was first put on caused considerable uproar, came to life once again retaining the same dramaturgical force.
Thanks to the coproduction between Tuscany’s Teatro Metastasio Stabile and Spoleto’s Festival of the Two Worlds, “The Homecoming” debuted in July 2013 with the cast of actors which had previously given life to “Demons”, the 12 hour Dostojevski marathon staged by the German director three years earlier: Paolo Graziosi, Alessandro Averone (director in 2016 of another play by Harold Pinter, “Landscape” , produced by A World with a View with Christine Reinhold and Derek Allen), Rosario Lisma, Elia Schilton, Andrea Nicolini and Arianna Scommegna.
The story is apparently simple.
The scene is set in the sixties in an old London home, where an old retired butcher lives with his brother and two sons.
The daily monotony of this microcosm is broken by the arrival of the third son, Teddy, who returns to London after six years in America with his wife, Ruth.
The arrival of this female figure in an apparently mysogenous universe of men, will set fire to long repressed perversions, thus revealing “The abyss that lies underneath our daily chit chat”, as the motivation to Harold Pinter being awarded the Nobel prize in 2005 read.
In his director’s notes Peter Stein wrote: “The jungle in which we fight is of course the family. Formal behaviour, more or less stable, is transformed into fatal aggressiveness and all the male sexual obsessions in this beastly family are projected onto the only woman present. In the men’s fantasies and in their attitude, she is transformed into a whore and she is left with revenge as the only choice, taking on that very role and satisfying their desires more than expected.”
As always Pinter’s endings always remain open. As the curtian closes “an imposing woman is left, with whining and sniiffing men at her feet and nobody can know what will happen next”.