ONE-ACT DOUBLE BILL
by Harold Pinter
Directed by Peter Fitton
& Karen Knox
Two classic short plays by Pinter: The Dumb Waiter, a black comedy about two inept hit-men awaiting instructions and A Kind Of Alaska, a deeply poignant drama about a woman awakening from a long coma-like sleep.
The Dumb Waiter
‘The Dumb Waiter’ by Harold Pinter is a comedy about two assassins. Gus and Ben are stuck in a basement room, awaiting the word to rendezvous with their latest target. They’re hit-men and this is just another job. Ben doesn’t seem to mind the routine, but young Gus is bored, restless and chippy about the way they’re being treated by their bosses - like mushrooms, kept in the dark and dumped on!
Director Peter Fitton explains: “It’s a perfect black comedy, with its misfit partners getting on each other’s nerves, whilst increasingly bizarre and farcical incidents really begin to rattle them. We’re having a lot of fun in rehearsal - there’s a definite Laurel & Hardy vibe going on. At the same time, we’re ratcheting up the tension, as the hit draws nearer. Anyone who’s seen the film “In Bruges” will recognise the debt it owes to Pinter’s Gus and Ben.”
“The Dumb Waiter” runs in tandem with Pinter’s “A Kind Of Alaska” at the Curtain Theatre, Rochdale from 13th to 25th February 2017. Tickets available on 01706 642008.
A Kind of Alaska
Imagine if you fell asleep for 29 years? What would life be like when you finally woke up? Who would still be there for you? And where have you been all this time? Just some of the questions Deborah has to face in ‘A Kind of Alaska’ at the Curtain Theatre.
Pinter’s one-act play sheds light on the mind of a woman recovering from sleeping sickness, an epidemic which really did sweep the world in the 1920s.
Karen Knox, Director, explains why this story is so fascinating: “It left the victims in complete suspended animation, conscious of their surroundings but otherwise in a motionless, trance-like state. When Deborah finally wakes, thanks to a new drug, she is mentally still a girl of 16, despite being in her mid-40s; the play charts her assimilation into a new, bewildering world.
“This is a fascinating story of rehabilitation and hope. Deborah’s mindset is still a girlish one of sisterly rivalry, her favourite dog, and her doting parents. But gradually she realises her former life has disappeared and another world is opening up for her. The play deals with that dawning. Rehearsals have been so rewarding, as new aspects of Pinter’s tender, often amusing, humane piece have been revealed.”
“A Kind Of Alaska” was inspired by Dr. Oliver Sacks book “Awakenings”, which many people will know from the 1990 film with Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, although the play focuses on a different patient. It really is an unforgettable, poetic gem of a play.
“A Kind Of Alaska” runs in tandem with Pinter’s “The Dumb Waiter” at the Curtain Theatre, Rochdale from 13th to 25th February 2017. Tickets available on 01706 642008.