“[Mountain Language] effortlessly encapsulates the world. . . . If to want, to have, to use or abuse power over others is the essence of politics, then Pinter has been writing political plays since day one. No one but he could have written this one. . . . This is a harsh, cruel, magisterial play, painful but compassionate.” John Peter, The Sunday Times (London)
978-0-8021-3168-3 • $7.95 • Paperback • Apr. 1989
When Mountain Language premiered in 1988, Irving Wardle of the Times of London wrote: “In Mountain Language, there are no cunning verbal mechanisms to stand between the spectator and the brute spectacle of state-enforced oppression.
“Set in an unnamed country, it consists of four brief prison scenes. In the first, a group of women visitors wait outside all day to see their imprisoned menfolk, savaged by guard dogs and insulted by the military. We then move inside for more intimate glimpses of the inhuman regime: the prohibition of the prisoners’ native language; a young wife catching sight of her battered husband; streams of bludgeoning insults like blows to the face; the final sight of an old woman who, finally permitted to speak the forbidden language, has nothing to say.
“[Mountain Language] is a scream of outrage, designed simply to point out yet again, and probably in vain, that such scenes are being enacted in prisons all over the world; that it is horrifyingly easy for human beings to start treating each other as an alien species; and that all this can take place in secrecy to an accompaniment of bland official disclaimers.”