The play violates all kinds of rules. There is a lot of talk—about the characters’ lives, violence, sexuality, memories (whether real or contrived)--but not much seems to happen—although what does happen is powerful. “There aren’t many actions of major import in this play,” Heckel said. “So you look at the action you do have, and you begin to see the importance of entrances and exits—who stays and who goes, who leaves in the middle of an argument, and who comes into a particular argument, and what statement that makes about the scene, how the scene is structured around somebody’s exit. ”
Then there are the famous Pinter pauses. Heckel described an article by Peter Hall, director of The Homecoming’s first production. “He says that the audience goes into a pause convinced it’s on one side of the river, and after the pause they’re surprised they’re on the other side of the river.” Characters abruptly change the subject, and change their attitudes without explanation—something that Pinter noticed in Shakespeare.
John Heckel is always aware of the educational functions of a production for the students involved in it. The Studio Theatre configuration is useful not only for the audience, but for the actors and designers. “The actors have the audience all around them. That requires a different kind of acting, a relationship with the audience that is more intimate. This configuration in the Studio also presents a different set of challenges for the student designers in creating and lighting the performance space for this particular play.”