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The Lover/The Collection, Shakespeare Theatre Company

At some point prior to 2011's staging by Michael Kahn of Harold Pinter's Old Times, there may have been discussion if a playwright firmly rooted in the twentieth century was appropriate fare for a classical theatre company.  Now, with Kahn launching his final season at the helm of the Shakespeare Theatre Company, he has returned to Pinter with a double bill of one acts, The Lover (1961) and The Collection (1962), surely laying any doubts to rest with one obvious truth: of course the Shakespeare Theatre should have Kahn directing Pinter, because he's so damn good at it.

Kahn's strengths as a director often lie in two realms well suited to Pinter: his adherence to textual precision and nuance, and his ability to fill in the blanks of the text with meaning.  Both plays keep the focus tightly on only a handful of characters, ably performed in both plays by the same ensemble: Patrick Ball, Lisa Dwan, Jack Koenig, and Patrick Kennedy.  Both plays are meant to unsettle the au…

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