01 July 2011

Or ... maybe not

The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.   Blaise Pascal

I think my favorite thing about watching Pinter's plays is that almost as soon as I think I understand what was going on, a voice in my head tells me "No, that's not it.  Try again."

We saw Old Times last night and its themes of the unreliability and possessiveness of memory meshed perfectly with that sense I always have of not having understood what I just saw.  Or having understood it through my own filters.  We interpret what we think we remember, changing the memory, and changing its meaning.

I don't remember several things about what happened when I got rear-ended a couple of weeks back, but at least I know that I don't know. It's very comforting to have a yes or a no answer.

The plays I hate the most - and they are often early plays by newer playwrights - are the ones where when asked why a character did something, said character responds immediately, with the complete reason.  In complete sentences, too. I don't actually know anyone like that.  We are mysteries to ourselves just as we are to others.

So now I'm revising what I saw.  Did this mean that?  Why did she behave that way?  Did I totally misunderstand that character?  That scene?  That play?

And because it's Pinter (pause) I may never know.

... And that's okay.