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Playreaders Stages Plays by Ethan Coen and Harold Pinter


By Lee Harris

San Miguel Playreaders will take you to other places this week with two short plays by renowned dramatists, including Ethan Coen’s Waiting and the play A Kind of Alaska by Harold Pinter.

Ethan Coen is best known, along with his brother Joel, as part of the acclaimed filmmaking team the Coen Brothers. Recognized for their absurd situations, quirky humor, and eye-catching cinematography, they have won international acclaim for movies like Fargo, No Country for Old Men, Raising Arizona, and The Big Lebowski.

In Coen’s play Waiting, a Mr Nelson faces an uncertain future in an uncertain location that seems to be some kind of waiting room. Waiting chronicles the story of Nelson’s eroding patience in the face of relentless bureaucracy. Lousy reading material, bureaucratic red tape, mix-ups, and missed deadlines ensue, becoming an almost cosmic joke of ineptness. The play entertains as it engages, and reminds us to see humor in the darkest situations.

British playwright, screenwriter, director, and actor Harold Pinter is one of the most influential modern British dramatists, whose writing career spanned more than 50 years. Pinter’s play, A Kind of Alaska was inspired by his reading of the book Awakenings by neurologist Oliver Sacks.

A middle-aged woman named Deborah has been in a comatose state for nearly thirty years as a result of contracting “sleeping sickness,” encephalitis lethargica. She is awakened by her doctor, still with the mind of a 16-year-old girl. She must confront a body which seems to have aged without her knowledge or consent. Her sister Pauline and Pauline’s husband Hornby, who has been Deborah’s devoted doctor over the three decades, attempt gently to ease her back to current reality. Deborah reawakens to a changed world, attempting to take what appear to her to be rather shocking revelations in graceful stride. The original London cast in 1982 included Judi Dench as Deborah.

The plays will be presented in the Parish Hall of St Paul’s Episcopal Church, Cardo 6, Wednesday and Thursday September 5 and 6. Featured in the cast are BC May, Lauren Osornio, Ariel Ashwell, and John Wharton. Lee Harris directs, with Roger Johns doing lights and sound.

Tickets will be sold at the door at 6:45pm each evening on a first-come, first-served basis. All ticket holders must be present when the doors open at 7pm or their seat may be resold. The show will begin at 7:30pm, or earlier if the house is filled. Admission is 30 pesos.



Waiting by Ethan Coen and

A Kind of Alaska by Harold Pinter

Wed and Thu, Sep 5 and 6, 7:30pm

St Paul’s Parish Hall, Cardo 6

30 pesos


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