Pinter Resurrected

CV pintThe Alumni Community Theatre (ACT) is having its first production of Harold Pinter’s plays Celebration and Party Time at the Gerhart theatre, in the AUC New Cairo campus.

The alumni cast of celebration and party time included Luke Lehner, Amina Khalil, Hani Eskander, Reem Kadry, Adham Zidan, Lama El Hatow, Tamer Guirgis, Leila Saad, Ali Nassar, and Hani Sami.

The production was directed by theatre major graduate Hani Sami. Sami did a wonderful job with the production. He used the tight space of the black box theatre very creatively, and did a great job with the alternating of scenes and the blocking.

The theatrical production of Celebration and Party Time takes place in the black box theatre of AUC. The experience of a black box theatre is very different from that of other types of theatres. In a black box theatre, the audience is part of the action taking place. The actors move between the audiences. The set is placed all around the audience. It’s not like the traditional proscenium theatre where the audience is on one side and the action on the other, but they’re somewhat merged into a little space all together, which makes it more intimate for the audience, and makes the audience feel closer to the actors.

Harold Pinter is playwright, director, actor, poet, and political activist from London, England. He wrote 29 plays, 21 screenplays, and directed 27 theatrical productions.  He was awarded with dozens of awards and honorary degrees; the most prominent of them is the Nobel Prize for Literature which he won in 2005. Pinter always spoke out vigorously about the abuse of power. He is known for his constant use of profanities and strong language in getting the message across to the audience, Pinter died at the age of 78, in 2008.

Celebration and Party Time are two one act plays. Celebration is a social satire which revolves around three couples dining in an elegant restaurant celebrating the wedding anniversary of Lambert and Julie. The dialogue then develops into a complex weaving of more sinister themes, including undercurrents of love and hate relationships and incest. The play ends with a mysterious speech from the waiter, which hints at a possible way to escape the pain of everyday life.

Party Time is a set up as a typical upper class gala where partygoers are shown as high-ups in a barbaric regime. Pinter injects small bits of dialogue that suggest that not all is well in the society around them.

The set of Celebration was that the expensive restaurant in town. The set if Party Time was of a Gala at Gavin’s (one of the characters) house. The best part of the set that most of the audience commented on was the bathroom of the restaurant in celebration, where the waiter usually was when off duty. The bathroom was done very simply, yet very creatively. The imitation of a bathroom was of a sector of a ceramic-tile wall with a chair, and a neon light bulb hanging from the ceiling. The set designer was graduating senior Nermine Amer.

The costumes were elegant evening gowns and suits, however there were fine touches that gave character to the actors, like the little hair piece that was worn by the younger sister in Celebration, which kind of made her seem like the younger evil sister in Cinderella, and the red and white polka-dotted tie, scarf and bow which were worn by the restaurant manager, the maitresse d’ and the waiter. Costumes were designed by AUC student Dina Abdel Aziz, who has contributed to the costume designing of many previous productions that took place in AUC. The lighting added a great deal to the effect that the director wanted to convey to the audience. The lighting was designed by AUC graduate Ahmed Omar.

The play opened on Thursday, Oct. 8. The remaining performances are scheduled to take place on Oct. 12, 14, and 15. Tickets are available at the PVA box office.

 -By Nouran Khalil

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