Sunday, November 11, 2007

Saturday Was Harold Pinter Day in Oxford, MS

Yesterday, Dr. "M." and I were walking down the sidewalks of Oxford, MS, discussing the demise of Harold Pinter. One of us insisted that it had occurred. The other disagreed. When we arrived at the old homestead, what should be waiting in the mailbox but a DVD of the American Film Theatre production of Simon Gray's play BUTLEY. Now there is nothing at all American about BUTLEY - not even the way the American Film Theatre spells "theatre." Think about it! Well, Theresa and Dr. "M." went out to dance at a big party, and I stayed home to indulge in some British classiness. It's a tricky thing, adapting plays for the screen, and longtime "blog" readers may realize that I have had bitter experiences along those lines in the past. So I was surprised to find myself immensely and unreservedly enjoying the adaptation of BUTLEY (Alan Bates gives the finest performance you may ever see, or one of them) and decided to check out the old, tattered Maltin volume to see who had managed to direct it with such subtle panache. It was Harold Pinter, people! The very same Harold Pinter whose aliveness had been the subject of such recent debate. BUTLEY was, in fact, Pinter's debut as a film director. But the most important part of the story is that in the play, the title character remarks upon the velvet jacket of his colleague/estranged lover. It is not a whole velvet suit, true, but we're going to count it in our tally in the spirit of Harold Pinter Day. Finally, I am sure you all are wondering if we were able to watch any television programming live and in person WITH Dr. "M.," given her expertise on the subject. The answer is yes! It was like shooting pool with Minnesota Fats. Dr. "M." guided us, Virgil-like, through the episode of BEVERLY HILLS 90210 in which the gang goes backstage to meet seminal boy band Color Me Badd (pictured).