Request Stop by Harold Pinter Anlysis

Topics: ClothingOther

This sample essay on Request Stop offers an extensive list of facts and arguments related to it. The essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and the conclusion are provided below.

Imagine that you are the director of ‘Request Stop’ ; think of two different interpretations, and give advice to the actress as to how to play the main role. Request Stop is a short sketch written by Harold Pinter, a political poet, author, and playwright. This particular piece was written in 1953. A typical bus queue of the period would have been much the same as today, quiet and fairly antisocial, with people hiding behind broadsheets and magazines.

The modern bus queue is boring. Nobody talks, except maybe for friends who are waiting, and everybody seems to not want to be there. The woman at the bus stop is somewhat of a mystery.

The Woman’s Character in the Sketch

There are a great many things that she could be. She could be an entertainer, livening up a bus queue by talking to everyone and anyone (even though she talks to one man, the whole queue is hearing her).

She seems fun, lively, and talkative with her confident outbursts and taking offence at the smallest thing, then making a scene about it. Taking the idea that she is an entertainer, how would be advise the actress as to how to play the role? Since our idea is that she is a street entertainer, her clothing could be colourful, even clown-like. Lots of bright colours could be used, and maybe make up, to create the effect of a clown.

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Her appearance would certainly be well kept, with ironed, clean clothes and clean hair, unless she wears a wig. The props she carries would depend on why she is there. There are a number of possibilities, including a television feature on why bus queues are so boring, or why people are so arrogant in general, using a bus queue as a living example. In this case, her props may include a microphone, or a cameraman. Another possibility for her presence is that this is an entertainment for charity, in which case she would be carrying a tub or collection box for donations.

The actress would have to play with a lot of confidence – even from the text it seems as if the character has a lot of energy about her, and the attitude given off is that she is in control of the situation. She knows how the people are going to respond, and it seems as if she has done this before, “All I’ve got to do, is report you, and you’d be standing in the dock in no time. One of my best friends is a plain clothes detective. ” In her speech, the actress would have to use a comical method of speaking. Changing tones of voice would be good, and perhaps she could stretch out certain words, “Who DO you think YOU are? Her speech would be fast paced, and the pauses would be brief, so as not to interrupt her momentum. Her tone of voice and the manner in which she speaks would be supercilious, that is to say, she would be superior, above everything. She would make the character’s repetition more evident, “Huh, I know your sort,” and “They’re putting your sort inside every day of the week. ” Even her props could be more comical, she could have a broadsheet like the others, and a few shopping bags, for emulation. The second possibility for the character of the woman, is that she is a sad character, and this is a tragic sketch.

The title of the play fits in with this (Request stop, beggars request, or beg, for things. ), it may have a double meaning. The woman could be requesting a number of things. Money, gifts, possibly conversation or friendship. The entire play’s structure is based upon a request, then a pause, “I beg your pardon, what did you say? Pause,” and “Who do you think you are? Pause. ” She talks more after each pause, with the height of her tirade reaching eight lines. The people ignoring her aggravating and antagonistic behaviour seem to suggest that she is socially alienated.

This point is lent credence by the fact that, whilst her character is called ‘Woman’, another female character is referred to as ‘Lady’ (it is important to note that the woman also refers to her as ‘lady’. ). Since she is being ignored, she seems to create a two way conversation where perhaps one doesn’t exist, “Ask a man a civil question… ” The people on the bus queue also seem desperate to escape her. The lady pays a lot more for a taxi to escape the attentions of the woman when she is asked to be a witness, much to the woman’s annoyance, “We know what sort she is. ” and at the end of the sketch, everyone in the queue runs after a passing bus, leaving the woman at the bus stop.

This could be a Biblical reference (Jesus’ teaching on the Good Samaritan), she is obviously in need of help, yet people want nothing to do with her and run off, or escape her in other ways, because they don’t want to know. Maybe she is not the troublemaker she first appears to be. Her continued harassment of the queue could be, rather than just a chance to annoy, a silent plea for help. With regards to acting out the play, the only character that needs to speak is actually the woman.

The man could be ‘making insinuations’ by ignoring her, and the others do the same by running away at the end. True, she is irritating, but you have to look past the fai? ade of her annoyance. As for giving advice to the actress with regards on how to play the character, there are, again, a number of possibilities. She could be homeless, in which case she would wear ragged clothes, with tears and dirt on them. Her face would seem haggard and worn, and her hair would be wiry, unkempt, and dirty – the stereotypical homeless person, living on the streets. Her belongings could be in a shopping trolley, or some carrier bags nearby.

Also, she could be mentally ill, or alcoholic. Props in this case could include a bottle, which she swigs from occasionally. The people at the bus stop would have to seem embarrassed by her presence, as real people are. The actress would have to create the diction for the lady. Possible suggestions would be a regional accent, maybe Geordie or Scouser. Her tone would be insulting or insulted, or both possibly. Her clothes would be a complete contrast to those of the clown character. She could be wearing all black, to show she is depressed. If she is a tramp then layers of torn clothing would be appropriate.

Her energy would come in bouts – she could be loud one minute, and quiet the next. Also her mood would change from one emotional extreme to the next, if she is an alcoholic or a mentally ill person. She could be placid at the beginning, then infuriated at the next sentence, then back to passive again later. She does not seem to be in control of herself, or the environment around her. This could be shown by the actress playing with her hair, or pulling sleeves on her shirt. Her running back to the front of the line near the end seems to be her attempt to insert assertiveness into her life, which suggests she leads a lacklustre life.

The actress could bring this out. In conclusion, I would probably direct the actress and advise her to play the Sad/Tragic aspect of the character. It seems to fit the piece better, and leaves a lot more scope for acting than the street entertainer option. The play would seem a lot more believable, and would relate to modern day life a lot better, especially with today’s audience. Because we have all been one of the queue at one point or another in our life, and this serves as a bitter reminder of that.

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Request Stop by Harold Pinter Anlysis. (2019, Dec 06). Retrieved from

Request Stop by Harold Pinter Anlysis
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