“Party Time / Celebration” at Harold Pinter Theater, London | BLOUIN ARTINFO
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“Party Time / Celebration” at Harold Pinter Theater, London

“Party Time / Celebration” at Harold Pinter Theater, London
“Party Time / Celebration” at Harold Pinter Theater
(Courtesy:Harold Pinter Theater)

As part of the ongoing Pinter at The Pinter season of plays, comes yet another production with a story and theme that is quintessentially Pinteresque.

The highly relevant “Party Time” is paired with Harold Pinter’s final play, “Celebration,” as part of the Pinter At The Pinter season. “Celebration” is a sarcastic and cynically amusing attack on the super-rich people of society who are abundantly narcissistic and powerful. The backdrop of the state’s oppression is ironically juxtaposed with the foibles of the nouveau riche. The play holds utmost relevance in today’s times and modern audiences will relate to it. Set in a fashionable London restaurant, this enticing comedy brings to fore the vulgarity and ostentatious materialism of the rich class.

The play depicts three couples dining in the most expensive restaurant in town. The two brothers, Lambert and Matt, and two sisters, Prue and Julie, are seated on one table. Lambert and Julie are married, so are Matt and Prue. They are there to celebrate Lambert and Julie's wedding anniversary.  Russell and Suki, who are seated on another table join the other party of diners. As they try to strike up a conversation, they talk about Richard, the restaurateur (a character supposedly based on Jeremy King, the London restaurateur, Sonia the maitre d’hotel, and an unnamed waiter.

The dialogue begins as any other celebratory meal would but soon develops into a vortex of complex issues, suggestive of more menacing themes that include undercurrents of love/hate relationships and incest. This 2000 Harold Pinter drama is an advisory play for the new millennium which dissects the shallow lives of three couples who in spite of being rich are unhappy and somewhat disoriented with their lives. This disorientation becomes the seeping point for emotional insecurities and psychological degradation.

Though they are at the place to celebrate the anniversary of one of the couples, they don’t seem to know which play, opera, or concert they have just attended. Their frailties are exposed in a very comic fashion as the three couples interact with a hostess, a maitre d'hotel and a waiter of the hotel. In the course of their conversation, incest is added to ignorance, not only suggested by Prue and Julie, but also by the women’s aggressive suggestions that their husbands are all bound up with their mothers.

So, the misogyny of the men intersects with the misandry of the women as they all struggle to be the more powerful. Matt and Prue’s positions as strategy consultants and a banker respectively, recall the symbolic treatment of Pinter’s more overtly political plays. Lambert’s memories of a lost love, who turns out to be Suki enhance the sense of desperation that forms the subtext of this celebration. Add to this the Waiter’s comic fantasies about his grandfather, which he interjects from time to time, speak of a lost culture and lost values that he wants to recapture. The play ends with an incomplete and mysterious speech from the waiter, hinting at a possible way to escape the pain of everyday life.

The play will be staged on December 28, 2018, at Harold Pinter Theater, 6 Panton Street, London, United Kingdom, SW1Y 4DN.

For details, visit http://www.haroldpinter.theater/

Click on the slideshow for a sneak peek at the play.

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