The ac­tor & the drama­tist Ju­lian Sands cel­e­brates Harold Pin­ter

Pasatiempo - - ON THE COVER - With a View Man’s Land, The Care­taker, The Home­com­ing, No The Killing Fields,

Harold Pin­ter and Ju­lian Sands had met be­fore, ca­su­ally, but this lun­cheon party was the first time they had found them­selves in se­ri­ous con­ver­sa­tion. Sands, an ac­tor best known for movies like A Room

and The Girl With the Dragon Tat­too, and high-end hor­ror fare like War­lock, has also done ex­ten­sive work on stage and tele­vi­sion. Pin­ter, the au­thor of plays such as and

was one of the most cel­e­brated drama­tists of the 20th cen­tury.

As that lun­cheon drew to a close, Pin­ter asked the ac­tor for a fa­vor. He was sched­uled to per­form an even­ing of read­ings from his poetry, but he just wasn’t up to it. Sands re­mem­bers Pin­ter lean­ing over to him and say­ing, “Look, I’ve been pre­par­ing a pro­gram of my per­sonal writ­ings, but my voice is not good.” This was in 2005, and Pin­ter was suf­fer­ing from esophageal can­cer. “I don’t want to can­cel it,” he told Sands. “I want you to do it for me. It’ll re­quire us to work to­gether.”

“Well,” Sands re­called over the phone from his Los An­ge­les home, “I was very flat­tered, very hon­ored to be asked, al­though work­ing with Harold is a for­mi­da­ble task, and it had its own in­tim­i­da­tions. So I I worked with him for this one-off gig. He was very pre­cise. And that tute­lage was a unique thing. He never worked with any­one else on the poetry. So it re­ally is from him to me, and from me to you. The writ­ing of these mostly short but very com­plex and pow­er­ful po­ems re­quired, as with his dra­matic writ­ings, an un­der­stand­ing of pause and si­lence, which is as rel­e­vant as the words he has cho­sen. [In the pro­gram] I demon­strate just how and why he gave such re­gard to the space be­tween words, where he of­ten found the great­est res­o­nance and ex­pres­sion of mean­ing.”

A few years af­ter their meet­ing, Pin­ter died. And Sands, who had re­mained close to the play­wright, de­cided to reprise that even­ing of read­ings as a trib­ute to his friend. “But I added to it quo­ta­tions from other peo­ple, and my own ap­pre­ci­a­tion. And the re­sponse to this memo­rial trib­ute was re­mark­able, from peo­ple who were very fa­mil­iar with Harold and his work, but who knew none of this per­sonal writ­ing, this poetry in which he re­ally re­vealed his in­te­rior self, his thoughts, his feel­ings, his in­tel­li­gence, his ro­mance, his hu­mor, and his hu­man­ity.”

The ac­tor John Malkovich, a friend of Sands’ since the two worked to­gether on the film

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