Friday, August 28, 2009

Harold Pinter Pair

Performance Date: 8.26.09
The Soho Playhouse (FringeNYC)

Last Wednesday I went to see Harold Pinter Pair, two short works by Pinter (The Lover and Ashes to Ashes) directed by fellow A.C.T. alum Patrick McNulty and presented as part of FringeNYC 2009.

It's my first play of the Year -- and my first post on the blog -- so I'm a little unsure how to proceed.  See, this is not a review blog.  I have no interest in playing the critic -- not after The Edinburgh Disaster of 2008 (see the "Instant Karma" and "Unsportsmanlike" posts from my Anna in Edinburgh blog -- yikes).  I simply don't have the stomach to say critical things about other people's art in public.  I don't know how these New York Times people do it.  I just read an old review for The Vertical Hour while prepping for a scene study class and it was just brutal.  If I were Julianne Moore or David Hare I'd be pissed.  So yeah, not gonna go there.

So where to?  Well what if I just restrict myself to saying nice things?  Because I have a lot of nice things to say about Harold Pinter Pair.  That seems fair.  I can't imagine any artists being upset reading nice things about their production.  Alright, Blog Rule #1: Nice things are allowed.

But what if I don't have anything nice to say?  We'll have to wait until I see a play I don't like to figure that out, because Harold Pinter Pair I really enjoyed.  But rather than worry this to death, why don't I just take a hint from my nifty sidebar over there and write some things I learnedHere goes:

  • I learned that I really enjoy extremely short, poofy, red strapless dresses worn by lovely ladies.  Especially when the hem of the dress rests gently atop a red cloth-covered table under which a lusty gentleman has just descended.

  • I learned how I love to watch an actor play.  And by play I mean when an actor has that little gleam in his eye of a character being totally alive and present.  When he is wholly engaged with his imagination, and yet somehow his imagination includes everyone else in the room.  An actor who is playing is utterly compelling, no matter if she is tearing up the scenery or sitting dully in a chair.

  • I learned once again how effective it is when an actor visualizes the story she is telling as if it's happening right in front of her.  How when she struggles to bring the vision into focus, to see a particular detail, it activates her and affects her fellow actor.  (Note to self: remember this next time you reject using an audition piece because it's a 'story monologue'.)

Now I feel I should say something about directing, particularly since if it weren't for this director being an A.C.T. alum, I might never have seen these lovely plays.  But the truth is, I still have trouble making out what parts of a production are directing and what parts are writing, or acting, or something else.  So I'll just say this -- I spent the majority of that hour and 45 minutes totally involved with what I was seeing, feeling as though I was in good hands, that I would never be bored, and curious to find out what would happen next.

A good start to a hopefully great year!