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“The Birthday Party”: Little Green Pig Stages a Bold New Take on Harold Pinter’s First Full-Length Play

Little Green Pig stages "The Birthday Party" on Nov. 3-12 at Common Ground Theatre

Little Green Pig stages "The Birthday Party" on Nov. 3-12 at Common Ground Theatre

Durham, NC-based Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern will present its bold new take on The Birthday Party, the first full-length play by award-winning English dramatist and screenwriter Harold Pinter (1930-2008), on Nov. 3-6 and 10-12 at Common Ground Theatre in west Durham. The Birthday Party premiered on April 28, 1958 at the Arts Theatre in Cambridge and subsequently played the Lyric Opera House in Hammersmith.

The Birthday Party made its Broadway debut on Oct. 3, 1967 at the Booth Theatre, where it played for 126 performances before closing on Jan. 20, 1968. The play won the 1968 Tony Award® for Best Featured Actor in a Play (James Patterson as Stanley).

Playwright Harold Pinter eventually earned four Tony nominations for play writing and direction, and he won the 1967 Tony Award for Best Play for The Homecoming and the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature, which saluted Pinter for “uncover[ing] the precipice under everyday prattle and forc[ing] entry into oppression’s closed rooms.”

On its website, Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern writes:

“For our sixth season, we leave the ‘countries’ model behind to further innovate our storytelling and explode the envelope of live performance. We’ve chosen two 20th century classics about families [Glass, adapted from Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, and The Birthday Party], followed by two new political thrillers [Donald, adapted by Tony Perucci from the novel by Eric Martin and Stephen Elliott, and the What Every Girl Should Know by Durham playwright Monica Byrne], in what we’re sure will be enlightening juxtapositions….

“[In The Birthday Party,] Kafka comes home to roost in a gripping, uptight celebration that seemingly does not in fact occur on someone’s birthday. As it turns out: psychological terrorism can be hilarious.”

The Birthday Party will star Jeffrey Detwiler, Lenore Field, Derrick Ivey, Jay O’Berski, Dana Marks, and Dan Sipp.

The Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern creative team for The Birthday Party includes director Jody McAuliffe; designers Sonya Drum, Chelsea Kurtzman, and Steve Tell; and stage manager Jennifer Evans. McAuliffe is a professor of the Practice of Theater Studies and Slavic and Eurasian Studies at Duke University.

Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern presents THE BIRTHDAY PARTY at 8 p.m. Nov. 3 Preview, 8 p.m. Nov. 4 Six-Year Gala Opening-Night Birthday Party, 8 p.m. Nov. 5, 2 p.m. Nov. 6, and 8 p.m. Nov. 10-12 at Common Ground Theatre, 4815B Hillsborough Rd., Durham, North Carolina 27705.

TICKETS: $12 Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday and $15 Friday and Saturday, except $5 Nov. 3rd Preview, $25 Nov. 4th Six-Year Gala Opening-Night Birthday Party, $10 seniors and active-duty military personnel, and $8 Student Rush Tickets (one hour before curtain). BOX OFFICE: 919/452-2304 or








The Play: (official web page) and (Wikipedia).

The Script: (Google Books).

The Playwright: (official website), (2005 Nobel Prize in Literature), and (Wikipedia).

The Director: (Duke Theater Studies).


Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

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