The Lincoln Center Festival New York, USA, 2001

Programme Cover

A Kind of Alaska (1982)
Gate Theatre
Directed by Karel Reisz, sets and costumes by Liz Ascroft, lighting by

Mick Hughes. With Brid Brennan, Stephen Brennan and Penelope Wilton.

Alice Tully Hall
Monday, July 16 at 8p.m.
Tuesday, July 17 at 8p.m.
Friday, July 20 at 8p.m.
Saturday, July 21 at 8p.m.

One For The Road (1984)
Gate Theatre
Directed by Robin Lefevre, sets and costumes by Liz Ascroft, lighting by

Mick Hughes. Cast includes Harold Pinter and Indira Varma.

John Jay College Theater
Wednesday, July 18 at 8p.m.
Thursday, July 19 at 8p.m.
Friday, July 20 at 8p.m.
Saturday, July 21 at 2p.m.
Saturday, July 21 at 8p.m.
Sunday, July 22 at 3p.m.

The Homecoming (1964)
Gate Theatre
Directed by Robin Lefevre, sets by Eileen Diss, lighting by
Mick Hughes,
costumes by Dany Everett. With Nick Dunning, Ian Hart, Ian Holm, John
Kavanagh, Jason O'Mara, and Lia Williams.


Clark Studio Theater
Wednesday, July 25 at 6p.m.
Thursday, July 26 at 6p.m.
Friday, July 27 at 6p.m.
Saturday, July 28 at 6p.m.
Sunday, July 29 at 6p.m.

Landscape (1967)
Gate Theatre
Directed by Karel Reisz, sets by Eileen Diss, lighting by Mick Hughes,

costumes by Dany Everett. With Stephen Brennan and Penelope Wilton


Clark Studio Theater
Thursday, July 19 at 8.30p.m.
Friday, July 20 at 8.30p.m.
Saturday, July 21 at 6.30p.m.
Sunday, July 22 at 6.30p.m.

Monologue (1972)
Almeida Theatre
Directed by Gari Jones, sets by Eileen Diss, lighting by Mick Hughes,
costumes by Dany Everett. With Henry Woolf.

The Room (1957)
Almeida Theatre
Directed by Harold Pinter, sets by Eileen Diss, lighting by
Mick Hughes,
costumes by Dany Everett. With Keith Allen, Lindsay Duncan, George Harris,
Stephen Pacey, Lia Williams, and Henry Woolf.

La Guardia Drama Theater
Tuesday, July 24 at 8p.m.
Wednesday, July 25 at 8p.m.
Thursday, July 26 at 8p.m.
Friday, July 27 at 8p.m.
Saturday, July 28 at 8p.m.

Celebration (2000) U.S. Premiere
Almeida Theatre
Directed by Harold Pinter, sets by Eileen Diss, lighting by
Mick Hughes,
costumes by Dany Everett. With Keith Allen, Lindsay Duncan, Dany Dyer,
Stephen Pacey, Nina Raine, Emily Strawson, Andy de la Tour, Indira Varma,
Thomas Wheatley, Lia Williams, and Susan Woodridge.

Mountain Language (1988)
Royal Court Theatre
Directed by Katie Mitchell, sets and costumes by Vickie Mortimer, lighting by

Paule Constable. With Gabrielle Hamilton, Anastasia Hille, Paul Hilton, and
Geoffrey Streatfield

John Jay College Theater
Thursday, July 26 at 8p.m.
Friday, July 27 at 8p.m.
Saturday, July 28 at 8p.m.
Sunday, July 29 at 3p.m.

Ashes to Ashes (1996)
Royal Court Theatre
Directed by Katie Mitchell, sets and costumes by Vickie Mortimer, lighting by
Paule Constable. Cast includes Anastasia Hille


Harold Pinter & Indira Varma in One for the Road
Photographer: Alastair Muir

The New York Times - Friday 27th July 2001 Celebration,
Lincoln Center Festival, New York, USA
Pinter's Silences, Richly Eloquent
Well, they have come up in the world, haven't they? Look at them, all tarted up in designer swank and swilling Champagne. And in a fancy, noisy restaurant, to boot, where you can't even hear those famous silences that have long defined their tribe. But make no mistake. The high-end hedonists who are whooping it up so entertainingly in a fat little play called 'Celebration' are definitely Pinter people. They are as brutal and scared and loutish and lonely as any of their predecessors, and they too demonstrate the principle that dialogue is less a two-way street than a juxtaposition of speakers talking their way through separate mazes. So don't let appearances fool you. The ritzy loudmouths in 'Celebration', Harold Pinter's most recent play, and the quieter working-class mumblers of 'The Room', the first drama by Mr. Pinter ever produced, have everything in common beneath the surface. And what a treat and a revelation it is to see these two sets of folks, separated by more than 40 years, confirming their similarities on the same stage in the same evening. The double bill of 'Celebration' (2000) and 'The Room' (1957, which runs through tomorrow at La Guardia Drama Theater, is the latest gift from the Pinter Festival at Lincoln Center, and it's something to cherish. First staged by the Almeida Theater Company in London last year, these works testify to a remarkably consistent vision. Even in his mid-20's, it seems, Mr. Pinter had found his voice and rhythms; more remarkably, he has held on to them. Watching 'The Room', which is set in a threadbare boarding house, and 'Celebration', which takes place in an upscale restaurant, you feel no comparative wistfulness, on the one hand, or embarrassment, on the other. You don't begin to think, "Oh, what a shame that he's lost that young freshness and audacity." The man who wrote 'Celebration' may have seen a bit more of the world than the fellow who wrote 'The Room', but he's still looking out at it through the same merciless eyeglasses. Polished to a reflective sheen under Mr. Pinter's direction, with a cast that seems to have stepped straight from its author's dreams, this double bill is as purely pleasurable a slice of Pointer as you're likely to see. Not that it ranks with a fully shaped masterwork like 'The Homecoming', the festival's ravishing highlight of last weekend. But how often do you hear a Pinter play eliciting the nearly non-stop laughter that 'Celebration' does - and not uneasy titters but outright belly laughs? While you'll likely remember 'Celebration' as a comedy, its creepier elements remain with you as well, a sense of a world of predators and victims, of intimate strangers and hateful love-making. As for 'The Room', a more obviously ominous work, you'll find yourself chuckling in recollection of such images as the alarm on an old man's face when he sits in a perfectly ordinary chair. These mixed responses are reminders that Mr. Pinter helped to do away with the generic distinctions in theatre. Small wonder that those who like their plays with clearly marked labels (comedy, tragedy, mystery, farce) have never had much use for him. Mr. Pinter insists that life is both a horror show and a laugh riot. Because he's so confident in knowing that he's right, he can expertly have it both ways. 'Celebration' focuses on two groups of diners in a restaurant that London critics were quick to point out is very like the Ivy, a fabled theatre gathering place in the West End. As it happens, these revelers have just come from performances of either the ballet or the opera. Not that they can remember a darn thing about what they saw, including the titles. A man who was at the ballet does note that "none of them could reach the top notes", while a woman observes about the opera she's seen: "Well, there was a log going on. A lot of singing". It goes without saying that these gilded, foul-mouthed souls are just as myopic when it comes to their own table mates (and for that matter, their food), with conversations that usually connect only on the surface, if there. At one table, we find Lambert (Keith Allen) and Julie (Susan Wooldridge), who are celebrating their anniversary with Matt (Andy de la Tour), who is Lamber's brother and married to Prue (Lindsay Duncan), Julie's sister. At the next table is a younger couple, Russell (Steven Pacey) and Suki (Lia Williams, late of 'The Homecoming'). Suki turns out to have some shadowy bond with old Lambert. Russell is a banker, while Matt and Lambert have the classically Pinteresque professions of 'strategy consultants', which means, as one of them says, that 'we don't carry guns'. Drifting serenely among these conversations are the restaurant's soigné hosts, Richard (Thomas Wheatley) and Sonia (Indira Varma), who don't even flinch at their customers' combination of scurillousness, lewdness and sentimentality. There is also, most crucially, one very chatty waiter (Dany Dyer), who keeps asking if he might interject a word here and there. It is our great good fortune that he does. Nothing really happens in 'Celebration', even by Pinter standards. It's basically all talk, exchanges of insults, skewed platitudes and highly suspect memories described with placid certainty. The subjects, on some level, are almost invariably sex and power. And yet it all packs the tickling wallop of perfectly orchestrated slapstick. Each performer, first of all, behaves badly beautifully. Ms. Williams's stork-legged gamine, whose ditziness has a razor's edge, is a particular delight, but they're all splendid. As is often true with Pinter, what make the dialogue soar is how close these wild strings of non sequiturs come to seem to reality. Listen closely to the talk at t Manhattan power den like Le Cirque late some night, and it probably won't sound so different. Mr. Pinter has also come up with the funniest exercise in name-dropping ever, pricelessly executed by Mr. Dyer's waiter, who recites the famous people known by his grandfather (from Kafka to the Three Stooges) in Homeric catalogs. An air of familiarity also clings to the wintry world of 'The Room', which begins with a bleak-faced woman named Rose (Ms. Duncan) serving breakfast to her husband, Bert (Mr. Pacey), while sustaining a classic Pinter dialogue that is really a monologue (or is it the opposite?). She talks; he doesn't. And yet there's the illusion that a conversation is going on. Hunched self-protectively in a ratty cardigan and head scarf (and looking nothing like the cleavage-flaunting Prue in 'Celebration'). Ms. Duncan is riveting. As Rose natters her way through a thicket of banalities - about the food, the weather and her husband's job as a driver - she emerges as a haunted Pinter prototype, a woman who has retreated into a muffling insularity through terror of the unknown, the unknown, by the way , included her own past. There are visitors, of course, to make life seem even more perilous. (Watch Ms. Duncan's

Lindsay Duncan in Celebration
Photographer: Alasdair Muir

stricken paralysis when she hears a knock at the door.) Among them, most memorably, is Rose's fretful old landlord, Mr. Kidd, played with Dickensian relish by Henry Woolf. Mr. Woolf (previously seen at the festival in 'Monologue') directed the very first production of 'The Room', in which he originated the role of Mr. Kidd, at the University of Bristol in 1957. He has not, to say the least, grown stale. Every student of acting should watch what Mr. Woolf does when Mr. Kidd first sits down, in a chair he may or may not be familiar with. It's an exemplary, seriously funny duet between a man and a piece of furniture. The warming presence of Mr. Woolf may be the most obvious link between past and present. But the sense of continuity between the plays runs deep. At the center of each is a resonant fear: of change, of the past, of the future. It's evident when Rose speaks about there being no reason to leav her small, shabby self-contained universe, where "no one bothers us". And you hear it in the voice of the waiter in 'Celebration' when he is asked if he's worried about being fired. "To be perfectly hones, I don't think I'd recover if they did a thing like that," he says. "This place is like a womb to me. I prefer to stay in my womb. I strongly prefer that to being born." Well, who wouldn't, given what a scary place everyone is born into? Thank heavens we have Mr. Pinter, who continues to make walking through the darkness such an oddly enlightening experience. Ben Brantley


Introduction to the work of Harold Pinter
Monday, July 16 at 6.00pm
Michael Billington, theatre critic for The Guardian and author of The Life and Work of Harold Pinter, will speak on the plays of Harold Pinter giving specific focus to the works featured in Lincoln Center Festival 2001

Playwrights on Pinter: Edward Albee, John Guare and Arthur Miller
Thursday, July 19 from 5.30-7.30pm
Three modern American master playwrights speak about the work of Harold Pinter. Moderated by Mel Gussow of The New York Times

Actors on Pinter: Ian Holm, Live Schreiber, Henry Woolf and Blythe Danner
Friday, July 20 from 5.30-7.00pm
Distinguished actors talk about their experiences working with Pinter's plays, screenplays and adaptations. Moderated by Austin Quigley, Dean of Columbia College, Columbia University.

Directors on Pinter: Karel Reisz, Robin Lefevre and Gari Jones
Saturday, July 21 from 5.oo - 6.30pm
Three stage directors of Lincoln Center Festival's Pinter play series discuss their approaches towards Pinter's texts. Moderated by Austin Quigley, Dean of Columbia College, Columbia University.

Pinter on Pinter
Friday, July 27 from 5.30-7.00pm
Master British playwright Harold Pinter speaks about his own work with Mel Gussow of The New York Times

The Film Society of Lincoln Center
The Spaces Between the Words: A Tribute to Harold Pinter
July 21 - 31, 2001

The Pumpkin Eater (Jack Clayton, 1964)
The Go-Between (Joseph Losey, 1971)
Accident (Joseph Losey, 1967)
The Servant (Joseph Losey, 1963)
The Comfort of Strangers (Paul Schrader, 1991)
The Quiller Memorandum (Michael Anderson, 1966)
Langrishe, Go Down (David Jones, 1978)
The Heat of the Day (Christopher Morahan, 1989)
The Caretaker (Clive Donner, 1964)
The Homecoming (Peter Hall, 1973)

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