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A CurtainUp Los Angeles Review
Deeley (Dan Cowan), a film director, and his beautiful wife Kate (Cecilia Specht) are visited by Kateís former roommate Anna (Cerris Morgan-Moyer), now the wife of a wealthy European who is at home in their villa on Sicily. In 100 taut minutes Deeley and Anna engage in a subtle duel that began long ago, a power struggle for intimacy and knowledge with the enigmatic Kate as its focus. They are curious and jealous. Their stories are presented as memories but they are as interchangeable as the speakersí identities and could just as well be imagination. Deeley said he chose a wife whose "only claim to virtue was silence." Anna calls Kate "stubbornly private." Deeley says he believes when he met Anna she was pretending to be Kate, even to wearing Kateís underwear.
It would be simplistic to say itís all about sex, although that effluvia permeates every minute. Itís more as if Anna and Deeley want to find out who they really are, why they fell in love with Kate and what that has made of them. The most emotional spears are lines from popular songs which the two sing alternately, both to Kate and to top each otherís quotes, reminiscent of Noel Cowardís line about the power of cheap music. Deeley sings sardonically to Anna, "When a lovely flame dies," to which she pointedly sings back, "Smoke gets in your eyes."
Why was Deeley driven to tears long ago and tonight? Why does Kate, in her long final monologue, tell Anna she remembers her dead? Is it a decision, a memory, a wish? Pinter brings the subconscious vividly and dramatically to life in a play thatís funny, inscrutable, makes no sense and plunges deep.
One of Pinterís favorite topics is the differences between men and women, how they fight and how they love. As Kate, Specht has an air of aloofness, amusement and a power that itís unnecessary to wield. Cowanís Deeley reacts directly, attacks more bluntly and questions more obviously. Cowan plays him without intellectuality, trying to fight the silken miasma of the women with weapons he doesnít understand. Morgan-Meyer plays Anna as a sophisticate who still has the look of a country girl who would admire, emulate and perhaps desire a mysterious beauty like Kate. The three prowl around Christopher Kuhlís elegant set with its scarlet divans, sleek sculptures and Martinis like animals on the scent of something maddening, essential and unknowable.
For more about Harold Pinter's work including quotes and links to other plays we've reviewed, see our Harold Pinter Backgrounder
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.
Leonard Maltin's 2007 Movie Guide