Harold Pinter and Donald Pleasence for @glamour in New York, 1968. "Pinter, having read the novel The Man in the Glass Booth by Robert Shaw, and worked extensively with Shaw on the play - Shaw actually told one interviewer that Pinter had 'adapted' the novel - volunteered to direct the play in the West End. It would be the first time he directed work other than his own. Further, Pinter thought Donald Pleasence would be ideal for the lead, though Shaw had privately imagined he would play the part himself. As the three of them had previously been involved in setting up the film of The Caretaker it seemed natural that they should put on the play themselves."
John French, Robert Shaw: The Price of Success, London: Nick Hern, 1993, p.107.
The meaning and relevance of the "glass booth" is that it is a bulletproof glass booth placed in a courtroom to prevent the possibility of an assassination of the main character, subject and hero, Jewish Arthur Goldman, Nazi concentration camp survivor, and now a wealthy tycoon, is kidnapped to Israel and put on trial for war crimes, and may or may not be former Nazi SS Colonel Adolf Dorff, perpetrator of World War II atrocities.
The plot was inspired by the kidnap and trial of the German Nazi SS-Obersturmbannführer (lieutenant colonel) Adolf Eichmann, who was one of the major organizers of the Holocaust.
The Broadway production of "The Man in the Glass Booth” opened on Sep 26, 1968 at the Royale Theater and ran for 264 performances. Pinter, Pleasence and Shaw received Tony Award nominations for Best Director, Best Actor and Best Play in 1969. Pleasence won the Drama Desk award for Outstanding Performance.
The play was highly controversial and has remained so in subsequent productions as well as the 1975 film version directed by Arthur Hiller and starring Maximilian Schell as Arthur Goldman which earned nominations for the Golden Globes and Oscars.
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