note: entire contents copyright 2001 by Larry Stark
by Harold Pinter
Directed by Donald Sheehan
Costme Design by Tracy Campbell
Set Design by Sean McIntosh
Sound Design by David J. Dowling
Stage Manager Christina Favero
Kate........... Rebecca Mobley
Deely......G. Zachariah White
Anna.......... Dayle Ballentine
Harold Pinter is engrossingly enigmatic. If there is a story, a plot in his "Old Times" it is kept under wraps, as unstated subtext. The play unfolds as almost an exercize in blocking three characters. Much of the play consists in long, meaningful silences, in significant stares, in who talks to whom, or which two gang up on a third. Three people talk about their past lives --- two as room-mates --- about shared underwear and a chance meeting blossomed into marriage, about remembered encounters, about significant banalities that, maybe because of the thoughtful pausings, turn into riveting theatre.
Is it significant that Deely (G. Zachariah White) and Kate (Rebecca Mobley) met when they both were the only two patrons seeing a film called "Odd Man Out"? Does it mean something that when Deeley stared up Anna's (Dayle Ballentine) skirts she had on her room-mate's underwear? Is the women's relationship stronger than that of man and wife? What's really at stake here?
Pinter never tells, but Director David Sheen has made certain that all those thoughtful pauses, pauses that go on longer than in any real conversations, are always alive with possibilities. The three actors here are full of energy even when static --- perhaps most energetic when motionless. They seem aware of one another even when sunk inside their own thoughts.
I have seen each of these actors before, but it is to their credit that I never recognized them until, later, reading their bio's in the program. They work together as effortlessly as though they'd known one another all their lives.
For this show David J. Dowling has devised a hypnotic musical introduction that distances Sean McIntosh's minimal set from reality, and focuses attention on what's being said, or not being said. More than anyone, Pinter manufactures pure theater --- and The Theatre Cooperative has brought "Old Times" engrossingly, enigmatically alive.