‘The Lover’ & ‘The Collection’
By Harold Pinter
Directed by Joyce Piven
At Piven Theatre
Two riveting Pinter works equals an excellent theatre experience
My first visit to Piven Theatre (shame on me) was a pleasant one due to Joyce Piven’s smart production of two of Harold Pinter’s fine one-acts–The Lover and The Collection. Together, Piven and Pinter have produced a fine theatrical event of note!
“Is your lover coming today” says husband Richard. “Yes,” says his wife, Sarah. Sarah (Dana Black) and Richard (Lawrence Grimm), a middle class rural living couple seem to have both communication and intimacy issues in their ten year old marriage. This play explores the nature of love and the rules of sexual attraction. Pinter vividly demonstrates how far a couples will go to avoid intimacy as he has the couple playing sexual and power games designed to create passion in their marriage. Dana Black and Lawrence Grimm are engaging as they slowly develop the dramatic tension as each move from role playing to casual conversation in a feeble attempt to communicate and enhance their intimacy. The mystery builds and the fear accelerates as the games get more physically intense. Pinter’s characters explore much without resolving anything. His play is stimulating and thought provoking as we see ourselves in his characters.
Harry (Lawrence Grimm) is a middle aged man with a young lover, Bill (John Francisco). They live together but seem distant. Bill gets several phone calls from James (Jay Reed) demanding a meeting. It seems that Stella (Dana Black) has confessed to sleeping with Bill at a convention in Leeds and James wants to confront Bill about that. When James and Bill meet at Harry’s home, sparks fly between James and Bill as Bill confirms Stella’s story. Bill entices a friendship with James as the two meet several times. Strong subtle gay atmosphere is hinted. Harry decides to intervene on Bill’s behalf and he confronts Stella. She confesses to making up the story. Bill, James and Harry have an awkward meeting as Harry reveals Stella’s lies to James. This mysterious one act deals with intimacy issues, jealousy and the need to confront others in search of truth or revenge. Pinter’s smart dialogue leaves doubt as to what really happened. Are these games too or is the attractions real and did Bill and Stella really have a one night stand? See these two terrific one-acts and judge for yourself.
Pinter’s works are in good hands at Piven Theatre. Lawrence Grimm is particularly good in this production. Pinter fans should see these two solid shows.
At Piven Theatre, 927 Noyes Street, Evanston, IL, call