Play directory : No Man's Land

Welcome to The Mandy Network Plays Directory.

The information below is intended to give you a brief guide to the show and highlight some of the other The Mandy Network members who have also been involved in this show.

  • Author
    Harold Pinter
  • Written
    1974
  • Overview
    No Man's Land is a play by Harold Pinter written in 1974 and first produced and published in 1975.

    The first act opens with Hirst's offering a drink to Spooner: "As it is?" – that is, neat (UK) or straight (U.S.) – and Spooner's reply: "As it is, yes please, absolutely as it is". During the first act, Spooner claims to be a fellow poet and to have known his more illustrious literary host and mutual acquaintances and relationships in the past. Toward the end of act one, Hirst's keepers (quasi-body guards) "vagabond cock" Foster and Briggs seek to fend off the self-insinuating Spooner, leading Hirst "out of the room and away from him. The act ends with a "Blackout" – visually demonstrating Foster's taunt: "Listen. You know what it's like when you're in a room with the light on and then suddenly the light goes out? I'll show you. It's like this. ... He turns the light out".

    During Act Two, in his increasingly inebriated state, Hirst may mistake or feign recognition of Spooner as an Oxbridge classmate from the 1930s, an apparently false impression which Spooner nevertheless encourages, leading both of them into a series of increasingly questionable reminiscences, which Hirst finally and abruptly undercuts: "This is outrageous! Who are you? What are you doing in my house?" going on to accuse Spooner of being an impostor: "You are clearly a lout. The Charles Wetherby I knew was a gentleman. I see a figure reduced. I am sorry for you. Where is the moral ardour that sustained you once? Gone down the hatch." – allusively and both wistfully and comically combining the clichés "Gone with the wind" and "Down the hatch," after which, Briggs "enters, pours whisky and soda, gives it to" Hirst, who "looks at it" and then says, "Down the hatch. Right down the hatch. (He drinks.)". Hirst proclaims, "Let us change the subject. Pause. For the last time.", but immediately asks, "What have I said?" That leads the characters to debate what Hirst's phrase for the last time precisely "means", leaving all of them, according to Spooner, "in no man's land. Which never moves, which never changes, which never grows older, but which remains forever icy and silent." Following the illustrative "Silence", Hirst utters the play's final words and provides its final action: "I'll drink to that": "He drinks," paralleling the opening words of the first act ("As it comes?"), and the play ends, ambiguously, with a "SLOW FADE" of lights.