Photos by Jeff Rumans
“No matter how you look at it, all the emotions connected with love are not really immortal. Like all other passions in life, they are bound to fade at some point. The trick is to convert love into some lasting friendship that overcomes the fading passion.”
– Harold Pinter
The Collection focuses on sexual relationships—hetero-, homo- and bi—and shows us the corrosive effects of jealousy and suspicion. The play brings us into the lives of two couples: Bill is a young fashion designer who lives with his older partner, Harry. Across town, Stella, also in the fashion business, lives with her husband Jimmy. A whispered account of a sexual liaison between members of these two households kicks off the action of the play in which mysterious visits and phone calls occur, threats are made, and blood is drawn. The Collection is replete with Harold Pinter’s signature mix of menace and wit, and Pinter’s skill with language heightens the erotic charge that flows among this quartet.
Like The Collection, The Lover centers on extra-marital affairs, but with many more unexpected twists and turns. Richard and Sarah are a couple enjoying a pleasant, if somewhat staid, married life. He works and she keeps house. The unconventional aspect of their relationship is in the fact that they both have lovers, and are quite willing to share information about them with each other. As the play progresses it becomes clear that Richard and Sarah are perhaps not as sanguine about this state of “affairs” as they pretend to be. The Lover explores desire, love, identity, and the lengths people will go to keep a marriage alive, all with Pinter’s usual mixture of laughter and danger.
In his short play Night, Pinter gives us a married couple who, over coffee, reminisce about their first intimate encounter. The thing is, their memories of the moment are strikingly different. The differences in their recollections reflect the differences between the sexes, as seen through Pinter’s incisive vision.
Director – The Collection – John Rensenhouse
Scene Design – Gary Moseby
Costume Design – Megan Turek
Lighting Design – Victor En Yu Tan
Sound Design – Dan Warneke
Composer – Greg Mackender
Stage Manager – Jim Mitchell
“Pinter is, it often seems, the last modernist, the last classicist, and, in plays like Night, the last romantic.”
– Alastair Macaulay, The New York Times