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No Man's Land

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  588 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
Do Hirst and Spooner really know each other, or are they performing an elaborate charade? The ambiguity - and the comedy - intensify with the arrival of Briggs and Foster. All four inhabit a no-man's-land between time present and time remembered, between reality and imagination.
Paperback, 35 pages
Published November 19th 2001 by Faber Faber (first published January 1st 1975)
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Petra X
No Man's Land is by turns mysterious, poetic, funny and alienating, but mostly it is just mysterious. Pinter's plays do tend to be somewhat open to interpretation, but this one in particular strikes me as gratuitously enigmatic, impenetrable even.

A man, Spooner, an odd-job man and poet, is just someone from the pub who may or may not have known the central character, Hirst, at university, may or may not have had lovers in common or may just be a total stranger. Possibly Hirst, a writer of fame
Bookdragon Sean
Dec 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, 4-star-reads
Talk about dream casting:


I saw a live screening of this last night at the theatre I work at. Yes, I work at a theatre. I get paid to watch shows. I’m supposed to be keeping an eye on the audience to make sure they behave themselves. They almost always do, so I can sit back and enjoy the performance. It’s not a very hard job.

I read this play a number of years ago now, and all it did was bewilder me. I had no idea what was going on. Well, I had some ideas, but it’s one of those plays where there
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Pinter‘s theater is the evolution of Ionesco’s and Beckett’s (especially Beckett’s) “Theatre of the Absurd”, its logical conclusion so to speak… Spooner and Hirst are brothers in arms of Estragon, Vladimir and Krapp… The absurd creeps in, ambivalence sets in and the Hampstead drawing room becomes a No Man’s Land where silence is the local idiom, cold and menacing, full of the untold and the implied… All of Pinter’s plays are about power. In that sense, they are all political plays… This particul ...more
[A claustrophobically enclosed room. HIRST, SPOONER, FOSTER, BRIGGS]

HIRST: Well?

SPOONER: Oh, quite, quite, don't mind if I do.

[He ambles towards the open bottle of scotch on the buffet, but finds FOSTER in his way]

FOSTER: That's not what the boss means.

[BRIGGS nods, but HIRST shakes his head disapprovingly]

HIRST: I'm sorry Spooner. No way to treat a friend. We would never have tolerated this behaviour at Oxford, would we old chap? [He has taken the bottle himself and poured out a couple of glas
Nov 29, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry-drama
3.5, really. I should think this was a solid 4 stars if I understood it more. As is, I loved the word play and trickery and the way the characters sympathized yet antagonized each other in a playful but malicious manner. Ultimately, it reminded me of when my siblings and I meet for the holidays. While we all "know" each other because of the common denominator of all coming from the same womb, none of us truly know who each other are. Perhaps that is the point of this play. What is it exactly tha ...more
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
After reading this play three times in the last 24 hours, I'm convinced that it is one of the great modern feats of language. It's at once an absurdist comedy and a surreal drama, though neither of those definitions do justice to the play whatsoever. It's just so weird, so funny, so profound and beautifully poetic. There are numerous memorable lines that are both hilarious and insightful. This is a comedic and linguistic masterpiece.
Apr 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm going to the theatre to see the marvellous Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart perform this play, and thought I should actually read it before I see it so I have an idea what it's about.

This is a very funny play - excellent word-play and comedic stance, which I find very typical of Pinter generally. It's also very poignant about depression and hints to past horrors that all characters have witnessed or partook in.

An excellent play and I can't wait to see it performed, even if I can't
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Read this now in anticipation of the McKellan/Stewart production which we have just got tickets for. Found it very funny at the beginning; it gets wonderfully strange - just as things start to fall into place there is a shift. Off to read more Pinter!
Ekaterina Dolgova
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
reading plays is always a challenge for me, I much prefer to see them on stage.. like Pinter's language, very colorful but plain. The plot is somewhat intriguing although the ending reminded me of Kafka.
Emma G
Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I gave this five stars because I'm such a fan of the way Pinter writes - even if I haven't really got a clue what he's going on about.

At first I started thinking it was some kind of post-traumatic stress thing happening, then I remembered who I was reading and thought more likely it was just some elaborate ploy that all the characters are involved in. Still, who knows?

Anyway, I really enjoyed the writing and the characters, and can't wait to see it come to life when I watch it performed on Broad
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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.

After publishing poetry and acting in school plays as a teenager in London, Pinter began his professional theatrical career in 1951, touring throughout Ireland. From 1952,
More about Harold Pinter...

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“There are places in my heart...where no living soul...has...or can ever...trespass.” 18 likes
“Listen. You know what it's like when you're in a room with the light on and then suddenly the light goes out? I'll show you. It's like this."
He turns out the light.
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