In choosing a selection of Pinter plays for an evening like Pinteresque, two questions immediately arise ~ ‘Where to start?’ and ‘When to stop?’ Planned at the height of the pandemic we looked at small cast plays, and a variety so we could use a large ensemble while keeping rehearsal and stage time to 2 or 3 people at a time. Even this gave us tremendous choice.
The examples this evening span 25 years ~ from A Slight Ache, originally written for the radio, one of the early masterworks alongside The Birthday Party, The Room and The Caretaker, to Victoria Station. Landscape was also originally written for the radio, and this transfer always gives directors and actors further choices to make in bringing them to the stage.
And Pinteresque? Harold Pinter is one of a handful of writers who have become their own adjective. Alongside Shakespeare, Dickens, Shaw and Wilde and just a few others, he has created a style which is immediately recognizable. In Pinter’s case this recognition often comes from his use of the pause ~ not a time when nothing is happening but, rather, when something is happening without words. Also, very apparent in all five pieces, the tension and potential violence which lies very close to the surface of the ordinary. Two things Pinter said helped us explore his work ~ “[My plays are about] the weasel under the cocktail cabinet” and, speaking of The Caretaker but applicable to most of his writing, “[It is] funny up to a point. Beyond that point [it] ceases to be funny, and it was because of that point that I wrote it.”
As always with FEST, I have had the opportunity to work with a dedicated and creative ensemble. I am thankful to them all but must take this opportunity to thank, in particular, Christina Paraschiv (on this our sixth project together) for her constant support, advice, keen eye and good humour.
CAST and CREATIVES
Controller – Daniel Toyne
Driver – David Mark
Woman – Sandra Regenbogen
Beth – Paula Strassenmeyer
Duff – Jim Phetterplace, Jr.
A Slight Ache
Flora – Cornelia Groeger
Edward – David Jamieson
Matchseller – Francesco Solazzo
Director – Daniel Toyne
Assistant Director – Christina Paraschiv
Producer: Christina Paraschiv
Stage Manager – Isabelle Krier
Set, Props & Costumes – The Ensemble, James Carey
Lighting – Ann Flaherty, Christina Paraschiv
Sound – Daniel Toyne
Stage Crew – Akash Awasthi, Rebecca Cornwall, Laurie Gaertner, Michael Jamieson, Maud Legendre
Front of House – Marco Benvenuti, Phil Lewis
Poster – Daniel Toyne
Photography – David Mark (Taunus Foto Galerie, Bad Homburg)
This is Daniel’s third play directing for FEST, following on from An Inspector Calls (2019) and Death of a Salesman (2020). During his 25 years in Singapore (1988-2013) Daniel directed a wide variety of plays, including works by Shakespeare, Pinter, Sheridan, Wilde and Bennett. He took several major acting roles, notably Prospero (The Tempest), Norman (The Dresser) and Dr Wickstead (Habeas Corpus). Daniel participated in dinner theatre (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India) and also wrote and directed two large-scale pantomimes, Robinson Crusoe and Alice in Wonderland. He returned to performing after a decade, as Gloucester in Shakespeare Frankfurt’s King Lear directed by PJ Escobio, this last summer.
Numerous productions with FEST as director, assistant director, costume assistant, light and sound designer/operator, producer, sound coordinator for the FEATS festival, and stage manager with Shakespeare Frankfurt sum up Christina’s theatre experience. The desire to grasp the show business led her to internships at the English Theatre Frankfurt, Schauspiel Frankfurt, directing trainings and theatre related workshops in UK, U.S., Australia, and Germany. Working alongside Daniel Toyne has once again bestowed gratitude upon Christina for as she enjoyed his gift of approaching language, the sense for sounds and space and his cunning choices in challenging both actors and audiences.
CORNELIA GROEGER (A Slight Ache)
Cornelia was born & raised in Kuwait with a bilingual fluency in English & German. She is a seasoned actress, lover of the performing arts & rediscovered her passion when she moved to NY in 2013, cutting her teeth on stage & film. Recent stage credits include Lisa in Adrift by Michael Edan at The NuBox, NYC & Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth in A Night at the Bard at The Players Club, NYC. Cornelia was last seen in the award winning short film To The Ones Left, as Margaret. She trains under Matthew Corozine (MCS, NYC). Love and thanks to all who support the theatre & film world.
DAVID JAMIESON (A Slight Ache)
After an outstanding performance as The Innkeeper in a primary school production of The Nativity, David shocked the theatre world by removing his Dad’s dressing gown and declaring his retirement from the stage to pursue his other love: cricket. In 2010 David returned to the stage with the Usingen English Actors as actor and director, bringing amusing, easily understandable English language theatre to the Taunus. He has also appeared on stage for TLS Frankfurt, both with a script in The Foreigner, A Grimm Tale and The Underpants, and without a script in the Dangerous Play improvised theatre series.
This is his first performance with FEST.
DAVID MARK (Victoria Station)
David has been a member of FEST since 1980 and performed on stage in many different productions over the years – tragedy, dinner theatre, farce, comedy, pantomime – the full gamut. He chaired the organizing committee for FEATS, the largest English language theatre festival in continental Europe, in 2010 and 2017. David loves inhabiting other characters and telling other people’s stories.
JIM PHETTERPLACE, JR. (Landscape)
Jim has been in theater since the 1980s. With FEST, he has performed in Breakaway and
The Scheme (FEST originals), The Two-Character Play and Detainee, and directed Our Country’s Good and Loot. In Germany, he has additionally performed for Oper Frankfurt, Shakespeare Frankfurt and the Interkulturelle Bühne (in German), and directed for the English Theatre Frankfurt and the European Central Bank Theatre Ensemble. He has appeared in two German-language short films and one music video. As a playwright, he is completing his adaptation of three works by Native American poet Beth Brant, an homage to his Cree Nations mother.
SANDRA REGENBOGEN (Special Offer)
Sandra has been involved with FEST since 1997. Performances include musicals, pantomimes, classic drama, comedies, staged readings as well as original scripts. She has worked with various other groups in Frankfurt, Darmstadt and Wiesbaden, covering Shakespeare and some filming along the way. Sandra last trod the boards for FEST in An Inspector Calls (2019), also directed by Daniel Toyne.
MIKE RIEPL (Victoria Station)
Mike has been performing on stages around the Rhein-Main area for many years now. In that time, he has played a murderer, an inspector, a man with a mysterious illness, an alcoholic doctor, a choleric father, noble Englishmen, servants, Americans, Indians, Chinese, Irishmen, Yorkshiremen, and a Norwegian. However, an agitated taxi dispatcher is nevertheless a first! Apart from acting, Mike idles his time away in FEST committee activities, writing plays (some of which have been performed) and pursuing a variety of other hobbies. In real life he has a job doing IT stuff, but funnily has never played a nerd!
FRANCESCO SOLAZZO (A Slight Ache)
Francesco was born in a small town in the south of Italy near Lecce. At the age of 16 he moved to Rome, where he started studying in a musical academy in 2007 specialised in Singing, Acting and Dance performances. After that, he took part in different theater workshops with several different methods and worked as actor for small roles in Italian films. 2011 worked in a political theatrical association, the “Teatro Valle occupato“ where he was trained by the Russian theater director Vassilev Anatoil. He was also active in small video productions as film editor and photographer, such as co-director for music videos. After a long break from theater productions he’s glad to start acting again, with FEST .
PAULA STRASSENMEYER (Landscape)
A native of Dublin, Paula joined FEST in 2013 and has performed in Bedroom Farce (2014), Our Country´s Good (2016) and a staged reading of The Women (2018). She is reveling in the return of live theatre and is delighted to be a part of this intriguing play.
DATES & TICKETS & VENUE
Performances: 19, 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28 November 2021, Fri & Sat at 19:30 and Sun at 18:00.
All pictures: © David Mark, Taunus Foto Galerie