Pinter Celebration Features Gambon, Irons, Rea and Cusack

News   Pinter Celebration Features Gambon, Irons, Rea and Cusack A starry cast of leading British actors will perform a reading of Harold Pinter’s Celebration Dec. 1 in recognition of the playwright’s Nobel Prize in Literature and his birthday. Pinter turned 75 on Oct. 10 of this year.
Jeremy Irons
Jeremy Irons Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The event is being presented by The Gate Theatre Dublin at London’s Albery Theatre for three nights until Dec. 3. Directed by Alan Stanford, the cast includes Sinead Cusack, Janie Dee, Michael Gambon, Jeremy Irons, Stephen Rea, Kenneth Cranham, Charles Dance and Penelope Wilton.

For the reading of Celebration Gambon and Cranham will take on the roles of the hard men and brothers Lambert and Matt who are married to two sisters, Julie and Prue, played by Wilton and Cusack, respectively.

Set in a posh London restaurant, the play’s title refers to Lambert and Julie’s anniversary. Though often hilarious, the piece has moments of unease when, typically for Pinter, violence simmers under the surface.

Celebration received its world premiere at the Almeida in 2000 when it was directed by the author and presented with the dramatist’s first play, The Room, written 43 years earlier.

The Gate Theatre’s strong association with Pinter includes two festivals of his work in 1994 and 1997, and a third in 2001 at New York's Lincoln Center, which The Gate curated, and all of which Pinter took part in.

The reading revives a well-established collaboration between The Gate and producer Sonia Friedman Productions. In April 2006 they will present The Gate’s production of Brian Friel’s Faith Healer in New York, starring Ralph Fiennes.

Pinter will not travel to Stockholm on Dec. 10 to collect his Nobel Prize, worth $1.3 million, because of health reasons. Instead, publisher Stephen Page will receive the honor on the playwright's behalf.

The dramatist, who has been recovering from cancer of the esophagus, will, however, still deliver his planned lecture to the Swedish Academy on Dec. 7, which is due to be broadcast live to British television audiences.