Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Hothouse at Dark & Stormy Productions

A cold January night, so cold. What better way to spend part of it other than seeing an early Harold Pinter comedy. Yes, you read that correctly - a Pinter comedy. The Hothouse was early in his career - the second play that he wrote in 1958, after his first three all written in 1957. If you are aware of Pinter's style, you can rest knowing that yes - his famous pauses, and silences are part of this piece. And yet it was funny.  So unlike the Pinter's scripts that I know.

Pinter is known for plays that are dark, edgy, and disconcerting. They typically take place in a location that is unknown with a power struggle of some sort between characters that may or may not have names. The Hothouse has characters with names, and yes - there are power struggles, and an unknown location, and yet there is humor. The production was by Dark & Story Productions in partnership with Artspace. It was performed at the Artspace Grain Belt Bottling House in NE Mpls. What a great location. A large open atrium with a single staircase, and a balcony around the sides. It has a great echo and so the audience was given headphones that were tuned directly into the microphones that the actors were using. It allowed for perfect understanding of the play, and yet you could still hear the echo a bit which gave it an eery quality...perfect for a play like this.

And what is the play about? well, I'm sure it is a play where each member of the audience will have a different answer. For me? I feel that it took place in a hospital, or a prison. It starts with the news of one patient/prisoner (only known by a number) passing away, and another giving birth. The very basic plot was trying to find out who is the father of the child. However, there is so much more going on in this work. There is a link towards the bottom that has more of a full review. Suffice it to say that it was a really enjoyable evening, yet through provoking. Exactly what I want when I go to the theatre.

And I was introduced to a new producing company - one which I will go see again. The cast of Robert Dorfman, Mark Benninghofen, John Catron, Sara Marsh, Bill McCallum, and Bruce Bohne was...I'm going to say it...perfect. Funny, intense, sexy and thrilling.