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Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Barefaced Audacity

The Flatwater Shakespeare Company
and the Haymarket Theatre proudly present

The Homecoming

Harold Pinter’s supreme “comedy of menace”

Directed by Bob Hall

Show dates: Thursdays–Sundays
April 15-18, April 22-25, April 29-May 2

Show times 7:30 p.m; Sundays 2 p.m.

Haymarket Theatre, 803 “Q” Street, Lincoln, NE

Call: 477-2600

Harold Pinter (1930-2008) was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005. The Swedish Academy, in its citation, observed that “in his plays [Pinter] uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression’s closed rooms.” He has been compared with Franz Kafka and Samuel Beckett, two other giants of 20th-century literature, for his powerful combinations of fear and humor, suppressed information and enveloping atmosphere, surreal developments and exacting language and ominous silences. His obituary in The Telegraph notes how Pinter’s dramas

brought into confrontation a variety of persons, from vagrants and prostitutes to middle-class married couples and self-proclaimed poets, in circumstances bordering on violence or menace and in language that was precise, elegant, and often very funny.

Some observers have argued that Pinter “not only changed the face of modern British theatre but also inspired the comedy boom of the 1960s” – influencing members of Beyond the Fringe (Alan Bennett, Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller, Dudley Moore) and Monty Python’s Flying Circus (Chapman, Cleese, Gilliam, Idle, Jones, Palin), among many others.

In The Homecoming, first staged in 1965, the setting is an old house in North London. The play explores relationships between six family members:

Max, a retired butcher;
Sam, his brother, a chauffeur;
Teddy, Max’s eldest son, who has moved to the United States
(and become a college professor in Philosophy);
Lenny, Max’s second son, very possibly a pimp;
Joey, Max’s youngest, a demolition worker and aspiring boxer;
and Ruth, Teddy’s wife.

Teddy brings Ruth home for the first time to meet his working-class family. As the play unfolds, the tensions, power struggles, nostalgia, and resentments continue to build.

(Photo: Harold Pinter in the 1970s.)