Furthering the theme of political consciousness expressed so forcefully and eloquently in his earlier play One for the Road, the author's present play takes place in an anonymous country where individual liberties have been forfeited to the state. Set in a prison where the inmates are forbidden to speak their own language, the play is comprised of four terse, arresting scenes which make masterful use of nuance and subtle understatement (with sudden bursts of violence) to create an overwhelming sense of terror and shocking futility. In one scene uniformed officers taunt and belittle the women who have come to visit their men, who are political prisoners; in another a mother and son are allowed to speak only in "the language of the capital," which they do not know; in the third scene a young woman accidentally sees a guard holding a limp, tortured man whom she knows to be her husband; and, in the final scene the old woman reunited with her bloody, trembling son and, though told she may now speak, she has been silenced so long that she cannot, or will not, do so. Quintessentially Pinteresque in its skillful use of pregnant pauses, resonant images and nightmarish utterances, the play is both enthralling theatre and a stirring reminder of what can happen when the power of the state becomes all-encompassing and the rights of the individual are forfeited, whether through neglect or weakness of will.
A brief but truly powerful study of totalitarian repression by one of the master playwrights of the English-speaking theatre. Successfully produced in both London and New York, the play evokes, in four short scenes, a shocking awareness of the terror, brutality and inhumanity which can occur when the rights of the individual have been usurped by an all-powerful and oppressive state. "His new play MOUNTAIN LANGUAGE, is only 20 minutes long, but it effortlessly encapsulates a world." —London Sunday Times. "MOUNTAIN LANGUAGE is an atom bomb: brief, brutal and utterly devastating." —BackStage. "With exquisite economy and controlled rage, the author has fashioned a pulverizing drama of man's inhumanity that subtly but surely conveys the immemorial lesson that the brutalizing of victims also brutalizes the aggressors and the uncaring." —Variety.