Ben and Gus
Harold Pinter was born in the working-class neighbourhood of East London’s Hackney in 1930, the son of a Jewish tailor. He evacuated to Cornwall, England, at the outbreak of World War II in 1939, and returned to London when he was 14. He began acting in plays at his grammar school, and later received a grant to study at London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. He left the school after two years, and spent most of the 1950s writing poetry and acting in small theatre productions. In 1957, he wrote his first play, The Room. His first produced play; The Birthday Party came a year later.
The reception was unfavourable, it closed within a week, but Pinter’s next full-length play, The Caretaker (1960), was more successful. The Dumb Waiter also staged in 1960, helped Pinter become more well known. He frequently directed, and sometimes acted in his own work in the 1960s and 1970s. This work was radio, television, and film based. Pinter often acted in “who done its? ” So this was a major influence in his work to do with gangsters and that lifestyle. He acted for Television drama: – A Night Out by Harold Pinter, ABC TV Armchair Theatre, 24 April 1960 Directed by Philip Saville.
(Assheton Gorton – Designer. ) Seeley – David Baron [Harold Pinter] He also acted in films, The Servant (Joseph Losey, 1964. ) Another cameo appearance for Pinter in this, his first collaboration as screenplay writer with the director Joseph Losey. He played the role of a Society Man in a brief scene. The Context of inherent of the play The play was written in the 1950s but staged in the 1960s. Personally, I would stage it in 1950s Britain. This is because there is so much related to the play socially (e. g. Rock and pop music) culturally (The Crazy Gang) and historically (the Cold War). Content of play.
The main content of the play is two men, who have jobs as hit men and they are in a basement waiting for their next assignment. As they wait, themes such as gangsters and their lifestyles, relationships between colleagues and tension are explored. These are very relevant to the period of the play because at the time (1950s) gangsters were around a lot. The basement is in Birmingham, “The second biggest city in Great Britain. ” I would make it a basement of a cafi?? used by the locals in a quiet part of town. The time of day would be unknown because there would be no windows, to make it look even more like a bunker.
The world in which the play was performed Personally, I would set the play at the same time the play was written, 1957. At that time, there were so many different things going on which influenced Pinter. Mainly, the plays he acted in such as Agatha Christie, comedies and a variety of other things. The main theme, for me personally, is gangsters and their lifestyles. The Krays One pair of gangsters that are very similar to Ben and Gus is the Kray brothers. The East End of London in the post-war era was a rough place to live in, and gangs of boys roamed the street without fear.
It was not unusual for weapons to be carried, and the Krays soon earned the violent reputations that have endured to this day. Like Ben and Gus. They were both equipped with revolvers each, to do their jobs and to protect themselves. The twins ran protection rackets in the local area until 1960 when they branched out and opened a gambling club in Knightsbridge. Ben and Gus are staying in a basement, but upstairs is an old cafi?? that could have been used for gangster, ‘pay – protection’ purpose. Also, Ronnie Kray was homosexual. One could set Gus as being homosexual, because he is not as rough and ‘manly’ as Ben.
50 – 60s Back in 1959 the then Tory Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, went into an election with the slogan that the British people “had never had it so good as under the Conservatives. ” Economic growth was over 3% a year, wages were rising, house prices were firm and, above all, everybody was in work – and all this with low inflation. Ben and Gus were also in work. It wasn’t the prettiest of work, but it made money. Ben would be annoyed with the slogan “Never had it so good” because for him, life was just about his job and how to cope with his ‘junior partner’ Gus.