the British Community Council, Lisbon

The British Community Council, Lisbon

Umbrella entity for organisations
with links to the British Community
in and around Lisbon

Lisbon Players Presents Landscape and Ashes to Ashes

Thu 08 Mar, 2018 to Sat 24 Mar, 2018

(Organizer: The Lisbon Players | Category: Plays / Shows)



8th - 24th March at Estrela Hall
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 21.00 (9 pm)
Sunday Matinee on 18th March at 16.00 (4 pm)

Opens 8th March! Landscape and Ashes to Ashes by Harold Pinter.

Directed by Valerie Braddell and Catarina Neves Ricci
Designed by Marinel Matos
Music by Duncan Fox
Stage Manager: Katerina Karachaliou
Asst. Stage Manager: Igor Halicki
Cast: Valerie Braddell and Mick Greer

“The past is what you remember, imagine you remember,
convince yourself you remember, or pretend you remember.”
(Harold Pinter)

In Landscape (1967), we meet the childless middle-aged couple, Beth and Duff, talking in the kitchen of the large, empty house they are looking after for their employer, the absent Mr. Sykes. Duff talks to Beth but, according to Pinter’s directions, “does not appear to hear her voice”, while “Beth never looks at Duff and does not appear to hear his voice.” The plot lies in the stories the characters tell, in which their emotions remain essentially unexpressed.

Duff is very much of the here and now. He talks of practical matters: his walks to the pond with the dog, the proper way to store beer and his pride in his practical abilities. He also tries to recover the seemingly lost Beth he yearns for: the perfect housekeeper, cook and servant; and the perfect wife who appears to forgive his infidelity with a kiss. Beth’s vision of herself, however, is as a beautiful, childbearing, artistic woman. She relives a past romantic episode - not with Duff - that climaxed, in some form, “by the sea” and now dominates her present. So entranced is she by the memory of her lover’s light touch that Duff’s heavy-handedness cannot reach her. His frustration at this ultimately becomes explosive; whereas for Beth, the remembered landscape of past romance is now her private world. As the critic, Katherine H. Burkman has put it “nothing happens but much is explored.”

Burkman’s statement could also be applied to Ashes to Ashes (1996), where we meet the childless Rebecca and Devlin. They appear to be a couple, although their talk often seems more like a session between a therapist and his patient than a conversation between a husband and wife.

The play begins with Rebecca recounting an episode in which her “lover” seemed to be sexually abusing her and threatening to strangle her. Sylvia Plath’s “Lady Lazarus” claims that “Every woman adores a fascist”. Rebecca says this fascist adores her and Devlin, who appears to have similar leanings, seems obsessed with this man. Rebecca relates several dreamlike sequences involving him, telling Devlin the man worked as a “guide” in “a kind of factory”, where his workers “respected his … purity, his … conviction”. She then goes on to say that “He used to go to the local railway station and walk down the platform and tear all the babies from the arms of their screaming mothers”.

Rebecca later describes another sequence, where she is standing at the top of a building and sees a man, a boy, and a woman with a child in her arms in a snowy street below. Her monologue suddenly shifts from the third person “she” to the first person “I”, as she seems to become the mother of the baby. “I held her to me,” she tells Devlin, and she listens to the baby’s “heart … beating”.

At that point Devlin approaches Rebecca, wanting to perform the actions of the “lover” she described at the beginning of the play.

In the final section, Rebecca’s memory returns to mothers and babies as she recounts the experience of a woman on a train platform with a “baby” wrapped up “in a bundle.” She and other women were being put on trains, while their babies were taken away by men on the platform. Rebecca then shifts again from using “she” to “I”, as if the woman's experience was her own, and she herself was forced to give away her baby, “the bundle”, to one of the men. In the final lines of the play, however, Rebecca denies that she ever had or knew of “any baby.”

8th - 24th March at Estrela Hall
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 21.00 (9 pm)
Sunday Matinee on 18th March at 16.00 (4 pm)

To book, please go to Reservations and fill in the form.