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Pinter debut promises more great productions
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Pinter debut promises more great productions

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

Two by Pinter: A Kind of
Alaska and Ashes to Ashes
February 7
Shadow and Light Theatre
(at ACT Theatre)


Shadow and Light Theatre Company is another in an actor-driven resurgence of theater companies where professional actors from the Actors' Equity Association have taken matters into their own hands and raised money for productions they choose to produce themselves. This company has dedicated itself to putting on Pinter plays, which they feel are underrepresented in the productions done around town.

Pinter is sometimes seen as intimidating because his scripts are filled with silences and quick changes of topic. Some theatrical professionals think they'll get it "wrong" or misinterpret it and the production will fail. Director Victor Pappas and actors Suzanne Bouchard, Frank Corrado and Kimberly King have no such qualms - or if they do, they squelched them and acted like they didn't.

Shadow and Light started this February by producing two 40-minute one-acts of Pinter's. A Kind of Alaska is about a comatose woman who wakes up after 29 years. Its genesis was the same doctor who inspired the movie Awakenings, as he discovers the potential of L-dopa injections. Suzanne Bouchard plays the woman who wakes up and still thinks she's a 16-year-old girl. She is disoriented, tart, funny, and mischievous, and tattles on her little sister's bad habits. Frank Corrado plays the doctor who tries to help her adjust to her new state. Kimberly King plays the little sister, now grown, and the estranged wife of the doctor. All do a superb job at conveying the complex emotions of the situation. Bouchard, however, really transforms into that young teen with the older body. It's a joy to watch her.

Ashes to Ashes is more obtuse and difficult to understand. Pinter has indicated that he wants it to be about those of us who haven't really experienced major calamities - wars, famine, rape, torture - yet feel guilty and tormented by the world's troubles as if they had experienced them directly. A man (Frank Corrado) and woman (Suzanne Bouchard) talk about their day, but the woman reveals that she once had a lover who tore babies out of women's arms on a train station platform. The husband (we think they are married, though it's not said) is stymied by new information about a lover he has never known about.

It's a slice of life. It's just that talk, nothing beforehand nor after. The conversation wanders between the possibly horrific and the mundane family life. You are left to wonder what to make of it, which is likely what Pinter would be very happy about.

Shadow and Light anticipates more productions in the future and you can bookmark www.shadowandlighttheatre.org to watch for announcements of their next play. Similar to New Century Theatre Company, these are some of the most well-known theatrical professionals in town - it's well worth attending when they take matters into their own hands.

Comments on reviews go to sgncritic@gmail.com.

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