The Geffen Playhouse is inviting residents of Los Angeles to witness one of Harold Pinter’s most critically acclaimed plays, the Birthday Party. The musical has been holding performances for over fifty four years now, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2008. Each year since 1958, the Birthday Party has been attracting hundreds of theatre lovers to its showcases. Recent productions of the play have been presented all across Amsterdam, Belgrade, Canada, Brussels, France, Copenhagen, Germany, Portland, Boston, New York and Sweden. This time, the musical is making its way to the city of Los Angeles, where it will be holding a series of productions. The Birthday Party tickets are expected to sell like wild fire.
The upcoming string of theatrical performances will take place at the Geffen Playhouse. The playhouse was built in 1929 for the alumni’s and students of UCLA. It was named Masonic Affiliates Club and was amongst the first few structures that were built in Westwood Village. In 1993, the venue underwent renovation and the university decided to turn it into a theatre with a five million dollar donation from David Geffen, media mogul. On an annual basis, the theatre hosts up to 7 to 8 musical productions. Actors who have made their way to the live stage include Roma Downey, Neil Patrick Harris, Alicia Silverstone, Jason Alexander, Martin Short, James Van Der Beek, Rita Wilson, Carrie Fisher, Peter Falk, Dana Delany and Debbie Allen. This time the facility is bringing to its main stage, the popular musical, the Birthday Party.
All about the Play
The Birthday Party is a full-length play written by the critically acclaimed writer, Harold Pinter. This is Pinter’s second full-length composition and has grown to become one of his most popular works. Premiering in Cambridge, England back in 1958, the original production was produced by David Hall and Michael Cordon. It became popular, receiving an overall positive reception throughout its London showcases. The story of the Birthday Party is set in the thirties era in a seaside town in England. The main character is Stanley Webber, whose birthday party is crashed by two sinister strangers, McCann and Goldberg. These men are supposedly looking for Webber and turn his innocuous birthday into a complete nightmare. The Birthday Party has been classified into different genres. While some critics have named it as pigeonholed theatre, others have described it as "comedy of menace" with massive elements of ambiguity and fluidity of place, time and identity. The play consists of six characters namely Petey and Meg; friends of the birthday boy, Stanley. Guests at the party include their friend Lulu and two strangers, McCann and Goldberg.
Critical Reception & Showcases
The Birthday Party has received mixed reviews from critics. Michael Billington describes the play as being "an immensely political play that puts light on an individual’s need for resistance". Polish critic Grzegorz Sinko states that Pinter has displayed a unique concept in which the audiences are able to see the victim’s destruction as a result of his own point of view. Over the years, the successful play has been entertaining audiences ceaselessly. With its Broadway premier that took place in 1967, at the Booth Theatre in New York, the Birthday Party celebrated its 50th anniversary with a special revival show that was held at Lyric Hammersmith in London. Cast of the show included theatre actors namely Sian Brooke, Llyod Hutchinson, Sheila Hancock, Alan Williams, Justin Salinger and Nicholas Woodeson. In 2009 a French adaptation of the play was seen being held at the Theatre des Champs Elysees in Paris. This time, the Birthday Party is making its way to the Geffen Playhouse.