I’ve been a fan of Harold Pinter’s plays since I designed sets for a couple of them at a Pinter festival in the 80’s. A forgotten Pinter piece has recently resurfaced, and it is brief enough that I could post it in its entirety here. The timeliness of this short play from 1960, in light of the current uprising of the 99%, is uncanny. As usual, I can’t resist casting it for your enhanced enjoyment. Here is “Umbrellas” with Benedict Cumberbatch in the role of A and Matt Smith in the roll of B–
Two gentlemen in deckchairs on the terrace of a large hotel. Wearing shorts and sunglasses. Sunbathing. They do not move throughout the exchange
A: The weather’s too much for me today.
B: Well, you’re damn lucky you’ve got your umbrella.
A: I’m never without it, old boy.
B: I think I’d do well to follow your example.
A: Yes, you would. Means the world to me. I never find myself at a loss. You understand what I mean?
B: You’re a shrewd fellow, I’ll say that for you.
A: My house is full of umbrellas.
B: You can’t have too many.
A: You’ve never said a truer word, old boy.
B: I haven’t got one to bless myself with.
A: Well, I can forsee [sic] a time you’ll regret it.
B: I think the time’s come, old boy.
A: You can’t be too careful, old boy.
B: Well, you’ve got your feet firmly planted on the earth, there’s no doubt about that.
A: I certainly feel secure, old boy.
B: Yes, you know where you stand, all right. You can’t take that away from you.
A: You’ll find they’re a true friend to you, umbrellas.
B: Maybe I’ll buy one.
A: Don’t come to me. It would be like tearing my heart out, to part with any of mine.
B: You find them handy, eh?
A: Yes … Oh, yes. When it’s raining, particularly.
© The estate of Harold Pinter 2011