"These people in this house": intermedial approaches to de-centring the domestic in Harold Pinter’s A Slight Ache and The Homecoming

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This article explores the effects of moving two of Pinter’s earlier plays outside their original domestic settings by focusing on two productions staged in 2019: A Slight Ache (1958), directed by Jamie Lloyd for the “Pinter at the Pinter” season in London’s West End, and De Thuiskomst/The Homecoming (1964), directed by Nanouk Leopold for Internationaal Theater Amsterdam (ITA). In relocating each play from its prescribed domestic interior, both productions explicitly drew on and incorporated the conventions of different media, specifically radio and film, in markedly different ways. Rather than transposing the country home of Pinter’s original radio play onto the stage in an analogous setting, Lloyd’s Slight Ache featured two performers appearing in a radio studio to voice their characters, thereby complicating the identities and motivations of the play’s characters by evoking a place of work, not a place of domestic retreat. In Leopold’s starkly minimalist Homecoming, video projections and visualizations of the human body as a kind of digital automaton replaced the trappings of domesticity, inviting audiences to focus instead on the live and mediatized bodies of the characters. Through their different means of representation, these productions demonstrate two different approaches to decentring domestic space in Pinter’s early plays via distinct intermedial strategies. In doing so, they offer a renewed focus on the embodied presence of the actors, thereby inviting new insights into how Pinter’s early characters can transcend the confines of their interior spaces on stage and underscoring the writer’s own inherently intermedial praxis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-211
Number of pages21
JournalModern Drama
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2022


  • intermediality
  • embodiment
  • domesticity
  • The Homecoming
  • A Slight Ache
  • Jamie Lloyd
  • Nanouk Leopold


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