By Maurice Charney (auth.)
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Extra resources for Joe Orton
The farcical self-indulgences are deliciously irrelevant, but not in the fashion of Pinter because they tend to humanise the play, reducing its mysterious menace and making Mike a believable character. Nothing in Ruffian on the Stair is more comically outrageous than Wilson's explanation of how his dead brother happened to be involved with Maddy: 'He had it off with you after seeing The Sound of Music. I waited downstairs. He was as pissed as a fart. He would never have had a prostitute and seen The Sound of Music otherwise' (p.
Orton has an elaborate account of the Beatles episode in his diaries (which are extensively quoted by Lahr); it is quite clear that the whole affair was based on a profound misunderstanding of what Orton represented. Brian Epstein, the Beatles' manager, wanted a wholesome, clean-cut, but nevertheless far-out image of his boys for the sanitised drug and pop culture of middle-class audiences. Up Against It was much too anarchic and comically liberating for the Beatles' commer- 26 Introduction: Life and Theatrical Career cial interests, and Joe Orton too revolutionary a writer.
He is lost in a world of pointless gestures and words. His terrorist activities are in the histrionic style of Monty Python's Flying Circus: he circulated among a crowd of women in a restaurant and told them the proprietor was mad; he organised a march into the city centre wearing a mask and carrying a banner on which nothing was written. . (p. 147) An empty banner is the ultimate political message. 33 Joe Orton Offjenkin exerts a tremendous influence on Gombold, especially in the area of explosive words.