Former drummer of Me, Mom, and Morgentaler Sid Zanforlin is back in action, making just as much noise without his drum. After making waves with his theatre directing debut last year with Jesus Hopped the A Train at the Centaur, Zanforlin's done it again, this time with Harold Pinter's brilliant play, The Birthday Party, produced by Montreal's newest collaboration, Triptych Theatre.
Aiming to produce top notch text-driven theatre while maintaining an independent spirit, Triptych have done right in choosing to debut with Pinter's play.
This, the first of Pinter's commercially produced full-length plays, will tickle any 'text' lover's fancy. A dark, absurdist tragicomedy that–in the vain of much, if not all good British writing–is almost too clever and witty for its own good. The story begins with an average working class couple, Meg (Emma Stevens, Artistic Director of Theatre Lac Brome and Echo Art Theatre Camp) and Petey (David Potter whose involvement in Montreal theatre spans 20 years). Meg and Petey run a boarding house. Their one guest, Stan (Carlo Mestroni, Appointment with Death and TV's The Tournament) has lived there for about a year after having failed in making the cut as a concert pianist. The banality of the everyday is soon interrupted when two new boarders, Goldberg (Brett Watson, Twelfth Night at the Centaur) and McCann (Daniel Giverin, The Goat…or who is Sylvia? at the Centaur) arrive. When Meg (who is just a bit loopy) tells them that it's Stan's birthday (even though it isn't until next month), they encourage her to celebrate with a party in his honour despite Stan's protests. They drink, they dance, they play games and everything turns into a suffocating nightmare where the past catches up with those that run from it in an appropriately 'theater of the absurd' way for the disintegrating mind.
Zanforlin will have you laughing from the start — his subtly is as nice as cornflakes and the morning paper–delivered beautifully by Stevens and Potter. But be prepared for the bizarre and the ugly. In Cronenbergian fashion, and with a few of his own tricks, Zanforlin throws in plenty of twists and turns that'll have you asking who's who and what is what.
A fine reminder of what theatre is really all about, The Birthday party will take you for a one hell of a ride. It's one party you don't want to miss!
The Birthday Party
Triptych Theatre at Theatre Ste-Catherine
264 Ste-Catherine St. East
April 13-30, Wednesdays to Saturdays at 8pm
Tickets: (514) 273-8495
$12 regular, $10 students