The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Upstart presents three Pinter shows in one

As part of the artist collective’s tribute to playwright Harold Pinter, Upstart Productions is presenting three of his shorter, lesser performed shows in a collaboration called “Pinter: Art, Politics, Truth.”

The last play he ever wrote, “Celebration,” is the first of the three. The audience is offered a glimpse into the lives of two dinner parties at what they repeatedly refer to as the nicest restaurant in the country.

This play is brutally funny, and although both parties are unhappy and crass at best, Pinter’s typical comment on the futile nature of the human condition is presented quite clearly. 

Unfortunately several of the actors falter with their British accents, and the show might have been in total disrepair if not for the performance of Michael Rains, who played the interjecting, chatty waiter.  

The second play, “One for the Road,” is the vicious story of a non-specific government official, who is torturing a family of three.

This play relies on the performance of the voluble interrogator and the reactions he creates in the family. In this role, Adrian Churchill delivers the appropriate threat.

The other actors in the play have minimal lines, but managed to meet Churchill’s intensity in their defiant silence.

 The final play, “A Kind of Alaska,” is the strongest of the set. It tells the story of a woman, Deborah (Amber Devlin), who has been asleep for 29 years and wakes up in the care of her doctor and sister.

The three actors led a heart-wrenching performance, where Devlin has the greatest on stage presence, and it is obvious that director Diana Gonzalez understood what Pinter’s play was truly about.

Deborah awakes from sleep believing that she is still a teenager, only to discover that her doctor Hornby (Randy Pearlman) and sister Pauline (Connie Lane) have sacrificed their lives to watch over her.

The fragility of the human condition and the love for family is shown with a great deal of compassion in the performances of Lane and Devlin.

All three plays are markedly different, which makes for an evening of theater that is anything but predictable.

Video clips from Pinter’s Nobel Prize speech serve as bookends and transitions for the plays, which might be seen as either interesting or insipid.

Overall these plays are aesthically pleasing, and leave the audience with new ideas to consider about life and what it means to be a human.

Upstart Productions breathes a lot of life into this production, and in order to make theater more accessible has kept their tickets at the affordable price of $15.

 

Runs: Thursdays through Sundays at 8 p.m. until Nov. 20.

 

Cost: $15

 

Wednesdays Nov. 3 and Nov. 17 are pay what you can.

 

For more information:

www.upstarttheater.com.

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