Monday, May 4, 2020

78. THE CARETAKER. From my (unpublished) ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE NEW YORK STAGE, 1970-1975


William Prince, Philip Campanella.
"In Lieu of Reviews"

Reviews of live theatre being impossible during these days of the pandemic, THEATRE'S LEITER SIDE is pleased to provide instead accounts of previous theatre seasons--encompassing the years 1970-1975-for theatre-hungry readers. If you'd like to know the background on how this previously unpublished series came to be and what its relationship is to my three The Encyclopedia of the New York Stage volumes (covering every New York play, musical, revue, and revival between 1920 and 1950), please check the prefaces to any of the entries beginning with the letter “A.” See the list at the end of the current entry.

W.T. Martin, Philip Campanella.
THE CARETAKER [Dramatic Revival] A: Harold Pinter; D: Gene Feist; S: Holmes Easley; C: Theodore Skipitares; L: Barry Arnold; M: Philip Rosenberg; P: Roundabout Theatre Company; T: Roundabout Theatre (OB); 6/23/73-7/22/73 (36)

British playwright Harold Pinter’s enigmatic, three-man drama about a tramp (William Prince) who arrives to share a rundown basement apartment with two mysterious brothers received an engrossing production. Howard Thompson said a “fresh thrust” had been added “to the verbal exchanges.” Done in the Roundabout’s small arena theatre located in the basement of a Chelsea supermarket, the play had the appropriate intimacy required for its muted acting and staging. Thompson called Gene Feist’s direction “impeccable” and thought all the actors were sensitive to the needs of their roles.

Douglas Watt believed Feist had brought out more of the play’s comedy than its menace, a “misconception” that nevertheless “works,” while John Beaufort had the opposite feeling, noting that “The rich comic possibilities . . . are not always fully realized,” although he appreciated “a production marked by intelligence, imagination, and discriminating artistry.” He thought “the play’s balances, tensions, and terrors are convincingly realized.” William Prince was considered “brilliant,” as Christopher Sharp put it.

Previous entries:

Abelard and Heloise
Absurd Person Singular
“Acrobats” and “Line”
The Advertisement/
All My Sons
All Over
All Over Town
All the Girls Came Out to Play
Alpha Beta
L’Amante Anglais         
American Gothics
And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little       
And They Put Handcuffs on the Flowers
And Whose Little Boy Are You?
Anna K.
Anne of Green Gables
Any Resemblance to Persons Living or Dead
As You Like It
The Au Pair Man

Baba Goya [Nourish the Beast]
The Ballad of Johnny Pot
Barbary Shore
The Bar that Never Closes
The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel
The Beauty Part
The Beggar’s Opera
Behold! Cometh the Vanderkellens
Be Kind to People Week
Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill
Bette Midler’s Clams on a Half-Shell Revue
Black Girl
Black Light Theatre of Prague
Black Picture Show
Black Sunlight
The Black Terror
Black Visions
Les Blancs
Blasts and Bravos: An Evening with H,L. Mencken
Blue Boys
Bob and Ray—The Two and Only
Boesman and Lena
The Boy Who Came to Leave
A Breeze from the Gulf
Brief Lives
Brother Gorski
Bullshot Crummond
The Burnt Flower Bed
Button, Button
Buy Bonds, Buster

The Cage
Candide (1)
Candide (2)
The Candyapple
Captain Brassbound’s Conversion