After the first half of Harold Pinter's The Hothouse at the National last year, my Dad asked a woman who had laughed loudly the whole way through if she thought it was a comedy. No! she exclaimed, frowning. And shuffled off to get an ice cream.
That, I suppose, is Pinter for you. She probably didn't even realise she was laughing. (And, presumably now self-conscious, didn't laugh once in the second half.)
Watching August: Osage County a few weeks ago I was all too aware that I wasn't laughing, since everyone else in the Lyttleton was. Riotously.
I'm not really sure why my view of the play was so different from the vast majority of audiences and critics. But I'm pretty sure that no one would have had any doubt that they had found it funny.
Hothouse photo by Catherine Ashmore/National Theatre
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