Role-playing can spice up even the dullest of relationships. Harold Pinterâs âThe Loverâ shows exactly that as it invites us into the life of a married English couple in the 1960s who have found themselves in quite a rut. Together for ten years, Sarah and Richard attempt to add pizzazz to their relationship by pretending that the other has a lover on the side. Erin Cronican and Brandon Walker in their respective roles, have a playful chemistry that is compelling, yet lighthearted. Although neither actor has yet to master the English accent, they are both convincing and pleasing to watch. This is helped by the theaterâs ambiance. Despite a shady appearance when you first enter the building, when you make your way upstairs to the fourth floor, the theatre is comfortable, close-knit and welcoming. The theatre has limited space, but remains well ventilated. The audience, seated in couch-like chairs, is so close to the stage that it feels as though you are engrossed in the plight of this bored married couple. The jazz music by Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker adds a nice touch to the transitions between scenes. It is the background music that gives the play a mellow 1960s feel. Also, the dim lighting and antiquated furniture pieces were realistic for the playâs time period. The quick transitions of roles were decently timed and added humor at the right moments. However, due to the fast pace, it was a bit difficult to keep up with what was role-play and what were the real marital issues between the couple. More straightforward dialogue between the characters would clear up this confusion. Of course though, the ambiguity only adds to the beauty of Pinterâs story. Ultimately, The Lover is a play about trying something new when boredom strikes an aging relationship. It is sad that a couple has to go to such great lengths to keep the spark alive, but to each his own. Most couples probably wonât go so far as to pretend to have mistresses and lovers on the side, but spicing things up can always break the monotony.
It is a truism that one gets what one pays for but every so often a happy aberration appears â attending productions of plays put on by the Seeing Place Theater is one of those aberrations â where one gets far more than one pays for. This evening I took a truly wonderful journey with the actors of this exciting young company as they presented Harold Pinterâs quietly disturbing, funny, and beautifully-crafted one act, âThe Lover.â Erin Cronican, Brandon Walker, and Ned Baker Lynch all offered up thoughtfully and carefully developed performances that pulled the audience brilliantly into that suspension of disbelief so necessary to good theater. From the moment the house lights went down till the bows at the end we were no longer in an intimate theater on the fourth floor of an old courthouse on West 54th Street but rather in a house in England, invisible guests being treated to all the goings-on taking place there. All this was directed marvelously by Ariel Francoeur and with not a single moment where whatever was occurring did not ring absolutely true. The evening was, in a word, exhilarating. Anyone who hasnât experienced a production by the Seeing Place Theater really ought to rectify that condition immediately. The company has a two-fold mission: bringing excellent theater to our community and at affordable prices. They merit very high marks on both counts. Never have I been disappointed by anything I have seen them do. I even attended a production of a play I didnât like by a playwright I have never been particularly fond of but I still was swept away because the acting was so good. This is how theater ought to be!
Great script, great directing, great acting. This is a company I will be making time to see again.
Great performance. Challenges your mind.