Ambiguity in three acts

TheaterSaturday, Feb. 17

click to enlarge The Birthday Party cast - Kellen Begley
Kellen Begley
The Birthday Party cast

Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party baffled critics of 1958 London; none understood what, exactly, the play was about, save for Harold Hobson of The Sunday Times, who praised Pinter's use of ambiguity as a dramatic device. "It is exactly in this vagueness that its spine-chilling quality lies." Now one of Pinter's best-known works, The Birthday Party is about Stanley Webber, a failed piano player and the sole resident of a British seaside boarding house. In classic Pinter fashion, a seemingly innocent situation turns into a bizarrely ominous and absurd one with the arrival of two mysterious visitors, who may or may not have ties to Webber's past. For their 2007 British International Theatre Program, students of USF's School of Theatre and Dance produce and perform the "comedy of menace" with BRIT guest artists Tim Woodward and John McEnery, special guest actor Jean Calandra, and visiting faculty member Kerry Glamsch. Through Feb. 25, 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., 3 p.m. Sun., USF College of Visual and Performing Arts Theatre II, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa, $12 adults/$6 students and seniors, 813-974-2323, arts.usf.edu; a special related event, "A Pinter Workshop: Revue Sketches," is presented 8 p.m. Tues.-Wed., Feb. 19-20 (Theatre Centre, Studio 120).