PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre presents "Hearing Noise in the Silence: A Celebration of the Life and Theatre of Harold Pinter," running until Aug. 22.
There will be two opportunities to see all six plays in three days, either Aug. 12-14 or Aug. 20-22.
The celebration begins with "The Hothouse," a dark comedy that unlocks the secrets of a state-run "rest home" where the staff is more disturbed than the inmates. Set on Christmas day and dealing with the investigations into - and cover-ups of - a birth and a death at the institution, "The Hothouse" unearths the corruption of bureaucracy, the secrecy of government and the disjunction between language and understanding. "The Hothouse" is directed by Matthew Gray.
"No Man's Land" is directed by Andrew S. Paul and follows the opening of "The Hothouse." Two eccentric men stumble home from the pub together. Hirst (Sam Tsoutsouvas) is a wealthy recluse haunted by dreams and memories, and Spooner (Rick McMillan) is a down-at-the-heels poet. They seem to share a common history, but they may be strangers performing an elaborate charade. The ambiguity and the comedy intensify with the arrival of Hirst's man-servants, Briggs and Foster, who may be lovers.
Next to open in the festival is an evening featuring two of Pinter's best-known shorter plays, "The Dumb Waiter" and "Betrayal." Directed by Martin Giles, "The Dumb Waiter" features Ben (Michael Hanrahan) and Gus (Jarrod DiGiorgi), two hit-men holed up in a basement flat awaiting their next assignment. Awkwardness and tension develop as the two make seemingly mindless conversation, only to be fueled by the constant interruption of a strange dumbwaiter delivering food orders which Ben and Gus are ill-equipped to fill. "The Dumb Waiter" was the inspiration for Martin McDonagh's film, "In Bruges."
"Betrayal" traces an adulterous affair backwards in time, starting two years after the affair ended. Alan Stanford directs a cast featuring Nike Doukas, Leo Marks and David Whalen.
The last opening features Pinter's first play, "The Room," paired with his final play, "Celebration." "The Room" is directed by Sheila McKenna and centers on Bert (Martin Giles) and Rose (Bernadette Quigley), a couple who might not be legally married, and their stay in a room in a large house. Left alone in the room, Rose receives a series of callers who fill her afternoon with comic and disturbing interludes.
Alan Stanford directs the comedy "Celebration," which takes place in a West End restaurant where you never know what will be served up next.
The play encompasses the dealings of a couple involved in extramarital affairs, thugs and their wives, and a few members of the restaurant staff who don't always act like restaurant staff.
In addition to a career as a playwright, performer and director, Pinter wrote screenplay adaptations, including "The French Lieutenant's Woman," "The Last Tycoon," "The Handmaid's Tale," "Sleuth" and (uncredited) "The Remains of the Day."
He also wrote film and television adaptations of many of his plays, including "One for the Road," "Celebration," "Old Times," "The Dumb Waiter," "Betrayal," "No Man's Land," "The Lover," "The Homecoming," "The Birthday Party" and "The Caretaker."
As an actor, his film and television career included roles in "The Tailor of Panama," "Wit," "Mansfield Park," "Mojo" and "Krapp's Last Tape."
Five-time Dora Award-winning Canadian actor Rick McMillan returns to the PICT stage for "No Man's Land" and "Celebration." He originated the role of Sarumon for "Lord of the Rings: The Musical" and was Scar in the Toronto production of "The Lion King." McMillan starred in the Andrew Lloyd-Webber/Ben Elton musical "The Boys in the Photograph."
His previous PICT credits include "Stuff Happens," "Julius Caesar" and "Henry."
Irish director, actor and playwright Alan Stanford returns to PICT after his 2007 production of "Salome." Stanford is the artistic director of Second Age Theatre Co., and he directed Harold Pinter in a production of Pinter's play "The Collection" at the Gate Theatre in Dublin. He will direct "Betrayal" and "Celebration."
Also returning to PICT. is L.A.-based actor Nike Doukas. Doukas was previously seen as the Mrs. Cheveley in PICT's 2008 production of "An Ideal Husband." Doukas and her real-life husband, Leo Marks, reprise their roles from the 2008 Andak Stage Co. production of "Betrayal." The couple also share the stage in "Celebration," and Marks will be seen in "The Hothouse."
Bernadette Quigley makes her Pittsburgh debut in Pinter Festival, playing Prue in "Celebration" and Rose in "The Room." Quigley was seen on Broadway and in the national tour of Brian Friel's "Dancing at Lughnasa."
The Pinter Celebration also marks a return to the stage for PICT Artistic Director Andrew S. Paul. In his first acting role since 2003, Paul will portray the waiter in "Celebration."
Completing the Pinter Celebration ensemble are Fredi Bernstein, Jarrod DiGiorgi, Tami Dixon, Martin Giles, Matthew Gray, Michael Hanrahan, Sheila McKenna, Larry John Meyers, Doug Pona, Sam Tsoutsouvas and David Whalen.
The design team includes scenic designer Gianni Downs, lighting designer Jim French, sound composer Elizabeth Atkinson and costume designer Crystal Gomes.
A Pinter Celebration Finale, with the entire company reading from Pinter's poetry and prose and a talk-back with the company will be held at 7 p.m. Aug. 22 in the Charity Randall Theatre.
A free panel discussion, "(Mis)Perceiving Pinter," will be held at noon Aug. 14 in the Henry Heymann Theatre. Panelists will be Ann C. Hall, Harold Pinter Society president, and Alan Stanford, "Celebration" and "Betrayal" director.
Tickets for "The Hothouse" and "No Man's Land" are $50 to $20, respectively. Tickets for "The Dumb Waiter" and "Betrayal" and "The Room" and "Celebration" are $32 to $20. Tickets for the Pinter Celebration Finale are $25.