The Birthday Party

by Harold Pinter

The Birthday Party had 4 performances over 7 years ago (between the 30th of March 2011 and the 2nd of April 2011) at The Riverhouse Barn

Setting - A seaside boarding house. Period 1958

Two sinister strangers arrive at a run-down boarding house enquiring about Stanley Webber, an erstwhile piano player, on the eve of his birthday.

Stanley’s seemingly innocuous birthday party, thrown by his landlady, Meg, turns into a nightmare.

Pinter’s comedy of menace is in turn hilarious, dark and unsettling.

Stanley is verbally bludgeoned into subjection and later further cowed by a childish game of blind man’s buff that turns into malicious terrorism.

Descriptions of the Charactes can be found below under 'Cast'

A flyer giving full information and booking form can be downloaded from the link at http://rdg.org/flyers/birthday-party.pdf

Application pdf

Download flyer

Click here to download a copy of the flyer for this production.

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Petey - Ian Thomas

60ish. Meg’s long suffering husband. He is a kindly, insignificant, deck chair attendant. Dull and lacking in ambition he and his wife are not inclined to find challenges beyond the confines of their boarding house. The pair have settled into a hum drum existence appropriate to their mundane lives. A good person who in his own small way takes a brave stand against the forces of evil.

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Stanley - Nick Lund

35ish. Meg’s longstanding, reclusive lodger. He is unshaven, shabby, lonely and suffering from unaccountable guilt. Tetchy and bewildered he wants to create a self more glorious than the one he has to inhabit. His delusions of grandeur are poignant yet tainted with a perpetual anxiety that turns to terror and eventual submission to forces greater than himself. His decline into mute fearful submission should be clearly marked.

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Goldberg - Keith Bollands

50ish. A suave gentleman in demeanour and appearance. An expansive Jewish stranger impeccably dressed in a tailored suit. He exudes superficial goodwill and kindly advice. His urbane garrulousness quickly turns to viciousness, which is both chilling and unpredictable. He recalls his Jewish boyhood with a sentiment bathed in improbable Disney sweet light. His soft heartedness is pure sham, as his outward charm hides a vicious nature.

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McCann - Mark Humble

Any age. Goldberg’s Irish sidekick who is in complete contrast to his authoritative partner in crime. A supposedly defrocked priest with an alarming stillness, he is for the most part morose, except when he sings his sentimental Irish songs. He has an obsessive habit of tearing newspaper into narrow strips and erupting into fury if someone touches them. There is an odd underlying unsettling fear and watchfulness about him.

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Meg - Anne Nunn

60ish. A good natured, dowdy, simple-minded landlady. Childless, she fills that void with an enforced gaiety and turns Stanley into a kind of surrogate child. She calls him ‘boy’, mothers him, and takes liberties appropriate to a parent, by invading his privacy and fetching him down for his breakfast. She can only see niceness as she twitters around her house with hesitant footsteps and a silly nervous laugh. Meg’s marriage has settled into a mechanical routine with its daily spoken and behavioural redundancies. At the birthday party she is gaily flirtatious and cloying, and she longs to be the belle of the ball.

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Lulu - Michelle Blake

25 ish. Meg’s attractive next-door neighbour . She is very conscious of her sexual allure and cannot sit for long without taking out her compact to powder her face. Behind her glamour there is regret for the loss of her first “pure” love. She sees Stanley as a washout because he seems to take no pride in his appearance. An alluring woman who catches Goldberg’s eye but regrets it in the morning. Her flirtatious vibrancy turns to blazing anger in the cold light of day.

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Director - Judith Dolley

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Stage Manager - Liz Thomas

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Set Design and Construction - John Godliman

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Set Construction (Assisted) - Adam Roberts

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Set Construction (Assisted) - Emma Dudley

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Set Construction (Assisted) - Nick Lund

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Set Construction (Assisted) - Anne Nunn

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Set Construction (Assisted) - Clare Pinnock

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Set Construction (Assisted) - Linda Russell

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Set Construction (Assisted) - Ian Thomas

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Set Construction (Assisted) - Liz Thomas

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Set Construction (Assisted) - Nancy Lund

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Set Construction (Assisted) - Simon Waller

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Set Construction (Assisted) - Julian Waller

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Set Construction (Assisted) - Wally Walters

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Lighting - Bill Payne

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Lighting - Nigel Greenaway

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Sound - Ian Santry

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Properties - Liz Thomas

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Properties - Anne Nunn

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Continuity - Nicola Anderson

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Continuity - Rita Warren

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Poster and Programme Design - Anne Nunn

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Publicity - Gillian Smithies

Original

Publicity - Frankie Godliman

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Photography - Alan Bostock (www.photoeyes.biz)

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Front of House Manager - Colin Dolley

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Music Arrangement - Chris Winslet