BG Productions put a new spin on an old work this week in Salford as they transported Harold Pinter to 1980’s Moss Side and gave it a British West Indian interpretation. One Man is railing against the world in Monologue..
Pinter’s Monologue is a rarely performed piece and certainly not one of his more well-known pieces. Clocking in at around half an hour, it tells the story of an unnamed man addressing an unseen companion (in this case, the companion appears to be deceased if the urn on the table is anything to go by). Loss, anger and love are all discussed as the Man rails against his disillusionment with the world.
We learn about how the Man’s love for the so-called ‘ebony lady’ led to heartbreak when she went off with Man’s friend. He hasn’t seen either of them for some time, during which, resentment and loss have been building up inside of him.
Laurence Williams plays the Man. He manages to create a broadly sympathetic character, in part generated by the lyrical script, in part generated by his ability to weave from one emotional state to another.
Pinter’s script itself is perfectly suited to the theatre with some cutting observations, and lines that can only be said to be typically Pinter.
Disappointingly, the impact of this piece is dulled by the inclusion of video montages. The videos themselves, stylish as they are, ultimately upstage and rob Williams of the drama he should be playing out on stage. It would have been much more effective to have run a montage at the end if deemed necessary. Admittedly, without the video sequences much of the Jamaican soundtrack and flavour would have been lost which would have been a shame.
Similarly, the twist at the climax is almost ruined by some bizarre lighting that threatens to completely obscure Williams’ performance. Sometimes less is more in such a slight piece as this. Perhaps it would have been more effective partnered with another piece. As it is, Pinter’s words and message sadly get lost in this sea of multimedia.
The Fiction Stroker gives Monologue three strokes out of five: