“Old Times” and “The Homecoming”

Pub date March 24, 2009
WriterRobert Avila
SectionArts & CultureSectionStage

PREVIEW Don’t get too cozy at home this weekend. Two Harold Pinter domestic dramas (if so prosaic a term can apply to the psychological warfare underway in them) are opening, and each ranks among his most stingingly taut, darkly hilarious, and downright creepy works. So take a pause for Pinter, the late and great, and unsettle the nest a bit — beginning with TheatreFIRST’s offering of Old Times, an eerie 1971 three-hander (featuring a rare opportunity to see the excellent L. Peter Callender on something other than the largest of local stages). The good ol’ days are the purported topic of conversation, but like the spare farmhouse shared by married couple Deeley and Kate — into which Kate’s old friend Anna comes for a visit after 20 years — the cold hard facts don’t extend far beyond three characters in a room. The rest is a contest for control that uses memory as malleable chess pieces in a ruthless game played for keeps. Then there’s Off Broadway West’s presentation of The Homecoming, one of the meanest, sauciest, and depraved family reunions ever staged. Talk about your nice nights in!

OLD TIMES April 2-18, $10–$28. Gaia Arts Center, 2120 Allston, Berk. www.theatrefirst.com.

THE HOMECOMING April 2-May 2, $15–$30. Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason, F.www.offbroadwaywest.org