Mountain Language

Harold Pinter

Totton: Wednesday 20th March 2013

Directed by Simon Walton

The first round of the All England Theatre Festival (Western Area, Southern Division) is usually held at the Hanger Farm Arts Centre in Totton. Bench Theatre first entered the festival competition in 2006 and has been a regular contributor ever since.

AuthorHarold Pinter

Harold Pinter

Harold Pinter, CH, CBE, was an English playwright, screenwriter, actor, director, political activist and poet. He was one of the most influential playwrights of modern times. In 2005 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.He died from liver cancer on 24 December 2008.

PlaysMountain Language

This play takes place in an anonymous country where individual liberties have been forfeited to the state. Set in a prison where the inmates are forbidden to speak their own language, the play is comprised of four terse, arresting scenes which make masterful use of nuance and subtle understatement (with sudden bursts of violence) to create an overwhelming sense of terror and shocking futility. In one scene uniformed officers taunt and belittle the women who have come to visit their men, who are political prisoners; in another a mother and son are allowed to speak only in "the language of the capital," which they do not know; in the third scene a young woman accidentally sees a guard holding a limp, tortured man whom she knows to be her husband; and, in the final scene the old woman reunited with her bloody, trembling son and, though told she may now speak, she has been silenced so long that she cannot, or will not, do so.

Quintessentially Pinteresque in its skillful use of pregnant pauses, resonant images and nightmarish utterances, the play is both enthralling theatre and a stirring reminder of what can happen when the power of the state becomes all-encompassing and the rights of the individual are forfeited, whether through neglect or weakness of will.

The Bench Competition Entry

This one-act play will be staged at the Hanger Farm Arts Centre, Totton as part of the first round of the All England Theatre Festival 2013 competition.


Chris Vanstone
Terry Smyth
Neil Kendall
Thomas Hall
Liz Donelly
Megan Green
Sue Dawes


Director Simon Welton
Stage Managers Thomas Hall