When is a birthday party not a birthday party? When it's the nightmare of Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party, ending its latest Los Angeles revival Dec. 2. The Matrix Theatre Company hosts the double-cast revival.
In The Birthday Party, two strangers ask to help the landlady with whom they've taken rooms celebrate the birthday of a fellow lodger. They seem to have dark ulterior motives for their offer, however, and even as the guests drink and party, the subject of the fete keeps insisting it is not his birthday. Pinter also penned The Homecoming, Betrayal, The Caretaker and The Dumb Waiter.
Andrew J. Robinson directs. He is the only director to ever win two L.A. Drama Critics Awards in the same year for two different productions, Endgame and The Homecoming.
The Birthday Party features Lisa Akey, Gloria Dorson, Ralph Drischell, Morlan Higgins, Gregory Itzin, Jay Karnes, Angela Patton, Lawrence Pressman, Rachel Robinson, Raphael Sbarge, Armin Shimmerman and Robert Symonds. All roles are double-cast and different players act each night.
L.A. Drama Critics' Circle Lifetime Achievement winner Victoria Profitt designed the set with costumes by Maggie Moran and lighting by J. Kent Inasay. Performances of The Birthday Party began Sept. 6. Tickets are $20. Matrix Theatre is located at 7657 Melrose Ave. For reservations, call (323) 852-1445.
— By Christine Ehren