'Caretaker' scribe takes home literature honor

British playwright Harold Pinter won the 2005 Nobel Prize in literature Thursday.

The Swedish Academy said that the scribe “uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression’s closed rooms.”

“I feel quite overwhelmed,” said Pinter, 75, known for terse, unsettling plays that include “The Homecoming,” “The Birthday Party” and “Betrayal,” “I have to stop being speechless when I get to Stockholm.”

His plays have had a regular presence on the West End and on Broadway. Most recently in Gotham, the Roundabout revived his 1959 work “The Caretaker” in 2003, starring Patrick Stewart, following the same company’s 2000 revival of “Betrayal” (1978). In 2003, he published a book of antiwar poetry and has been a vocal opponent of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, President Bush and the war in Iraq.

The next New York production of the scribe’s work is a double bill of one-acts, “Celebration” (1999) and “The Room” (1957), at Off Broadway’s Atlantic Theater Company. Org skedded the Nov. 16-Jan. 8 run before Pinter took the prize.

“I don’t think there’s ever been another writer like him, in his ability through minimal words to convey subconscious fear and hidden foreboding,” said Atlantic artistic director Neil Pepe, who will direct the Pinter double. “He’s brutally truthful.”

The last playwright honored with the Nobel was Italian scribe Dario Fo in 1997. Other dramatist laureates include Luigi Pirandello, Eugene O’Neill, Samuel Beckett and Jean-Paul Sartre, who refused the award in 1964.

“He is an extraordinarily good writer, and his political activism is exemplary,” said playwright Edward Albee.

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