Theater Review: New World Order

The movable glass doors – what’s to hide? – and elaborate clown cum-military costuming heighten the moral perversion to which we are confederate.

new world order play 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
new world order play 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
New World Order By Harold Pinter Translated by Avraham Oz Edited and directed by Gita Munte Khan Theater May 13
This New World Order (NWO) is a canny amalgam of three short plays by Harold Pinter, two of them, NWO and Party Time, were written in 1991, and the third, One for the Road, was penned in 1984.
It is a given that the language in a Pinter play is ordinary, the kind of ordinary that menaces, gives you goose-bumps, and Prof. Oz’s translation catches that nicely.
Editor and director Gita Munte has complemented the language through Polina Adamov’s set and costumes. Neither are really necessary to what happens, but, oddly, the movable glass doors – what’s to hide? – and the elaborate clown cum-military costuming serve to heighten the moral perversion to which we are confederate.
Here the venue and characters of Party Time encompass the other two. The urbane Nicholas (Liron Baraness) is hosting a fancy party at an oh-so-in venue, ignoring the exacerbating riots outside. He listens to the characters as they extol the very exclusive new club to which they belong, a club that has “a sound moral base” without which neither it nor the nation can exist, and never mind the rioters.
Terry (Yossi Eini) rabbits on about the club’s amenities as he savages his wife Dusty (Carmit Mesilati Kaplan) for daring to ask about her “disappeared” brother Jimmy (Vitali Friedland). Friedland also plays Fred, a torturer, and Nili Rogel is Gila, wife to Victor (Yoav Hyman), an intellectual imprisoned for dissing the regime. In this NWO Nicholas has an alter ego. He is revealed as The Torturer, whose mangled, nearly mute victims are Victor, Gila and their seven-year-old son Nicky (Eyni) who is killed with less compunctions than swatting a fly.
There’s no physical violence. It’s only in the words, as Nicholas, Fred and Terry pervert all that is clean. The world we live in, Pinter suggests, is becoming more and more a police state, and the p’s & q’s we must mind had better be Theirs – or else.
Baraness as the egomaniacal Nicholas does a tour-de-force turn. He never loses his cool, his smile or his moral depravity. His counterpart is Shimrit Lustig as the suave, and deliberately ignorant Melissa. The always compelling Eyni terrifies as bully Terry, and calls up pity as doomed Nicky, while Mesilati-Kaplan shines as poor, stupid Dusty.
Hyman and Rogel more than admirably carry off their nearly silent parts, but Rogel is also great as vacuous party-groupie Pamela. Friedland’s Fred is nastily eager and his Jimmy evokes compassionate horror. Munte’s casting is surely deliberate as is the point of her production – we here are traveling that same road.