Wednesday December 13th 2017

“The Caretaker”

Highly Recommended  Harold Pinter and his writing is pure genius! The biggest problem with doing Pinter is that audiences have to pay attention, closely, to his words in order for them to stay with the story. Large theaters are not the proper place to see a Pinter play and so it is with great admiration for the staff at Writers’ Theatre in Glencoe that they chose to produce their current production of “The Caretaker” at their Vernon Avenue bookstore theater. This tiny space in the back of a book store with 50 seats is sheer magic for this play as we the audience are “the fly on the wall” in this seedy little room in London where the action takes place.

Directed by Ron OJ Parson, who has brought together three strong actors to make this story come to life on a set by Jack Magaw ( an incredible array of junk, and yet the parts all fit the story) with sound and wonderful incidental music by Michael Griggs, this is exactly what a Pinter play should look like. I must give a special tip of the hat to Nick Heggested for the gathering of all this “junk” as the prop master- wow! is all I can say. The story itself is about two brothers and a tramp. The brothers, Aston ( richly played by Anish Jethmalani) and Mick ( solidly played by Kareem Bandealy) are very different and while they appear to have nothing in common , as we learn more about them, we see that in many ways, their aspirations are very close.

The downtrodden, fast talking tramp, Davies ( an amazing performance by the always solid William J. Norri, in what might be called the role of a lifetime) needs, as he says, a chance to get back on his feet and plays the brothers as they allow him to stay in the apartment, have a bed and food with no intention in leaving. Each of the brothers has their own individual problems, Aston, some earlier mental problems making it impossible for him to complete his projects and Mick a feeling that he is above it all and that one day he will have the finest of homes ( from this dump). Each of the brothers offers the caretaker position to Davies, not knowing that the other has done likewise.

In this very intimate study of the three personalities, Pinter takes us into each man’s head as they try to take themselves to a new level, but despite their intentions, they never hit the mark as to making the right choices. In the end, each of the brothers sees that the need for Davies is not there and ask him to leave. Did he overstep his boundaries and try to hard to come between the brothers for his own existence? Can he change his ways? Or will he always be a selfish man who feels that others need to hear him. While this is an intense study of three men, there are some comical moments, although they are “dark comical moments”, but if you listen to the words of Pinter and the brilliant way they are delivered by these three powerful actors, the story unfolds understandably.

“The Caretaker” will continue at Writers’ Theatre- Vernon Bookstore through March 26th with performances as follows:

Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.,Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m.,Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m.,Sundays at 2 and 6 p.m. ( except Christmas and New Year Day and no 6 p.m. show on January 29th,March 4th and March 25th)

There are some special Wednesday matinees at 2 p.m. December 21st,January 4th,February 29th and March 21st.

Tickets range in price from $35 and are available at the box office located at the Vernon Bookstore, 664 Vernon Avenue, at the Writers’ box office 376 Park Avenue ( just a block away), by phone at 847-242-6000 or online at www.writerstheatre.org

Plenty of FREE parking in Glencoe and this show is worth the trip!

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