Harold Pinter was an English playwright, screenwriter , actor, theatre director and poet. He was of the most influential and imitated of modern British dramatists. Pinter’s writing career spanned over 50 years. Pinter’s dramas often involve strong conflicts between ambivalent characters who struggle for verbal and territorial dominance and for their own versions of the past. Stylistically, his works are marked by theatrical pauses and silences, irony and menace.
Request Stop is a sketch written by Harold Pinter in 1959.
During this time peoples beliefs and ideas were suppressed and neglected. By writing this play, Rinter was trying to criticise this conservative way of feeling by creating the impression of a contemporary London divided, where people do not interact or want to be involved with others.
The text is a short sketch with only one speaker. Although there are many characters in the scene, only the woman speaks, whilst the others characters ignore her, here, we can see the lack of interaction between people.
Although at first glance it looks like a regular play, the beginning of the play is in fact very unusual. It starts with a woman asking “I beg your pardon, what did you say?”. This question suggests that we have come halfway through the conversation. However, as you read on, the audience realises that it is in fact the beginning of the conversation and that the man she accused of insulting her was innocent. We then realise that she is in fact setting out to cause trouble.
The woman who talks is shown to be a very rude and insulting person. This is illustrated throughout her comments to the other characters. She also seems to be very racist, not necessarily to foreigners but to anybody that was born outside of London. This suggests that she is very narrowminded and discriminative. E.g. “Anyone can tell you’re foreigner. I was born just around the corner… you’re just up from the country…”