Feb 072008
Authors: Austin Hall

CSU’s theatre program is putting on the first play written by one of the theatre world’s most respected playwrights.

Harold Pinter’s “The Birthday Party,” opening tonight, is directed by CSU theatre professor Dr. Eric Prince, who called the play “funny, clever and sinister by turns.”

Prince, who has met Pinter before, said that he chose to do this play because “Harold Pinter is a really major playwright, and in all the time I’ve been here (nine years) there’s never been a main stage production of Pinter.”

The play revolves around the story of Stanley, played by sophomore performing arts major Dan Minzer, a somewhat emotionally unstable man who lives in a boarding house and is taken care of by loving housewife, Meg, played by senior English major Niccole Carner.

One day, however, two well-dressed men, Goldberg and McCann (junior performing arts major Mike Largent and graduate student Dan Tschirhart, respectively), show up at the house to stay in the empty room. While talking to Meg they discover that it is Stanley’s birthday, and they offer to Meg to throw Stanley a birthday party. Meg agrees. However, the party soon turns into an interrogation of Stanley by Goldberg and McCann, and Stanley’s mental condition deteriorates from that point.

“(The play is) different. You get to see one person basically go mad,” said Tschirhart.

Largent stressed the role of Goldberg and McCann in Stanley’s downfall.

“They turn him from a man to an obedient puppy,” said Largent.

Still, the students in the production don’t believe that the negative feelings involved in the play detract from its quality.

“It’s a strange play . but I like the open-endedness of it,” said stage manager and theatre major Kaily Anderson.

Tschirhart said that the audience could even come away with positive messages from the play.

“Maybe they’ll appreciate their individuality more (after seeing Stanley’s) damaged,” said Tschirhart.

The individual students have all put in a lot of time and effort since rehearsals started in November to try and produce a quality product. For example, Largent helped to build parts of the set while preparing for his lead role.

Anderson said the cast has thus far been up to the challenge.

“The cast has been amazing,” she said.

Other members of the production hope that the audience will share the same level of enthusiasm despite the somewhat negative overtones of the play.

“I just hope they walk away wanting to come back to (see) more theatre,” said Largent.

Staff writer Austin Hall can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

Breakout Information

The Birthday Party

When: February 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16 at 7:30 p.m. and on February 10 at 2 p.m.

Where: The University Theater in the University Center for the Arts, located at 1400 Remington St.

Tickets: $7 for Colorado State students and youth ages 6 to 17, $14 for seniors and $16 for the general public,

Purchase at: The Campus Box Office in the Lory Student Center, over the phone by calling 970-491-4849 or on the internet at www.csutix.com.

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