As well as being ridiculously accessible, I love National Theatre Live because of its introductions. Handy when the cinema doesn’t print those programme things anymore. A brief explanation of the themes of the play. At the beginning of No Man’s Land, we are told it is a play about power. Excellent, power. I’ll keep an eye out for that. It wasn’t exactly subtle. First produced in 1975, Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land is about four men in a room. It sounds familiar because a few plays start in this fashion. It may also look familiar as it stars Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen, and it’s very rare to see one without the other.
We join Hirst and Spooner in one of the rooms in vast house in what I believe to be Hampstead. It’s Hirst’s home, we’re not sure where Spooner comes from. I think they met in the pub, I think they’ve meet before. Hirst isn’t too sure either. He’s not well you see. I think he’s in the care of Foster and Briggs, two rather imposing gentlemen who can hold a room with wit and force. The single room is full of uncertainty and the man that knows the truth hold the power. With actors like Stewart and McKellen in the room, it’s like watch a tennis match between insert two good tennis players. Together with Owen Teale and Damien Molony under Sean Mathias direction are, for lack of a better work, hypnotic.
Described by one of the knighted actors as a game of chess, I wanted the play looking for a winner. Who would come up top dog? Foster seems to know all. Briggs has the physical strength. Hirst has the money. What does Spooner have? The whole situation makes him uncomfortable. He is treated as both highly esteemed guest and an unwanted pest. He is treated to champagne breakfast after being locked in a room against his will. He has the power to leave but the more of the circus he sees, the more he wants to stay with Foster, Briggs and Hirst. No man’s land is the disputed ground between the front lines of two opposing armies. Each man has built their trench and they’re not moving. At the end of it all, what we have is a stubborn square. Rolls eyes. Men.