Shakespeare Theatre does justice to Harold Pinter's 'last masterpiece'

By William Westhoven
The Daily Record

'I didn't understand it, but I loved it."

More than one opening-night viewer offered that critique of Harold Pinter's "No Man's Land," the firecracker drama revived by the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey.

If those people read Bonnie J. Monte's director's notes in the program, they would know that understanding the play is not the goal. Like a spicy entree, knowing exactly what went into the recipe isn't required to savor the meal.

The Nobel Prize winner wrote what Monte called "his last masterpiece" in 1975, establishing this production as one of the classic theater company's most contemporary efforts, and its first go at Pinter since "The Homecoming" in 1995. Too bad, because while Pinter may be a hard sell given his vague plots, twisting realities and abstract rhythms his poetic language and electric dialogue have a way of stimulating parts of your brain that are rarely challenged. Read more.

'No Man's Land' stage review: Pinter puzzler scores at Shakespeare Theatre

By Peter Filichia
The Star Ledger

Adam Mieceilicas handsome set at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey immediately tells theatergoers that the owner of these digs lives a lush life.

Hes also leading another kind of lush life, as theyll soon see in Bonnie J. Montes excellent production of Harold Pinters No Mans Land. Mr. Hirst is living the lonely life of a hard-drinking alcoholic.

This evening, Hirst went to (where else?) a bar and invited a man named Spooner home with him. Whether Hirst wanted sex or companionship is not made clear, of course; Pinter always wanted an audience to guess about what may or may not be going on in his plays.

One things for certain: Spooner can talk and talk and talk. Sherman Howard superbly plays the gregarious guy whos off and chatting the moment after hes offered a drink. Read more.

A CurtainUp New Jersey Review: No Man's Land

By Simon Saltzman

The best thing about reviewing a play by Harold Pinter is not feeling any compunction to explain it. Being perplexed by a Pinter plot is as important an aspect of the experience as is being fascinated by its meticulously calculated elusiveness. That kind of response is, of course, what makes the tantalizingly vague No Man's Land so much fun, especially so in the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey production under the direction of its artistic director Bonnie J. Monte.

Somehow I managed to miss the original Broadway production in 1975 which starred Ralph Richardson and John Gielgud. I can only imagine the kind of chill-enhanced rapport must have been created by those two titans of the British stage. I did, however, catch the Broadway revival in 1994 with Christopher Plummer and Jason Robards, an event that is still, if vaguely, etched in my brain. So what a treat it is to see two such fine, but less illustrious actors as Edmund Genest and Sherman Howard immerse themselves so splendidly in this wonderfully dark comedy. Read more.

Shakespeare Theatre of New Jerseys 'No Mans Land' is worthy of Tony Award consideration

By Stuart Duncan

British playwright Harold Pinter, in the words of one of his colleagues, "did what Auden said a poet should do. He cleaned the gutter of the English language so that it ever afterwards flowed more easily and more cleanly." This same colleague (David Hare) also said "his singular appeal is that you sit down to every play to never know what the hell's coming next.

And so you know what you know what to expect and what you might respect at "No Man's Land" which has just opened in a stunning production, with a sensational cast, at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison. The work, written in 1974 and staged in London's West End the following year, is one of Pinter's most complex. Only 90 minutes, but filled with twists and turns of language that defies plot analysis. One moment you are laughing at a clever bon mot, the next you are stunned into silence at a threat that might indeed breed violence. Read more.




'No Man's Land' a 'Real, Surreal and Super-Real' Production

By Laura Silvius
Madison Patch

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's latest production of 'No Man's Land,' written by Harold Pinter and playing now through Aug. 29, isn't your traditional piece of theater. There's no action, no sequence of events more interesting than the entrances and exits of the four-person cast. But that doesn't make the play short on meaning, complexity, or poetry. In fact, if you ask Director Bonnie J. Monte, she'll say that the play "deals with epic questions that have plagued humanity since the beginning of time."

Monte, now in her 20th season with the Shakespeare Theatre, sees parallels between "No Man's Land" and "King Lear," which she directed with the Company two years ago. "This play is so similar to King Lear in a lot of ways that it's staying in the forefront of my brain," she said. "It's about a man dealing with the end of his life and how one wants to approach the end of his life." Read more.

Edmond Genest plays a drunk - again - at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey

By Peter Filichia
The Star Ledger on

Drunk again.

Thats Edmond Genest but only onstage, of course, playing a big lush in Harold Pinters No Mans Land. Genest will range from tipsy to smashed in the 1974 play at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison.

Genest was hilarious here in 2007 when he portrayed a happy-go-lucky and irrepressible drunk in William Saroyans The Time of Your Life. This time, however, hell be Hirst, a quiet and introspective alcoholic poet who invites an old friend named Spooner over for drinks and perhaps more. Read more.


Shakespeare company gives Pinter another chance

By Ted Otten
The Times of Trenton on

Bonnie J. Monte hopes there won't be a repeat performance of what happened when she directed an acclaimed production of Harold Pinter's "The Homecoming" 15 years ago.

Monte is directing the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's new staging of Pulitzer Prize-winner Pinter's "No Man's Land" that opens tomorrow night. Back in 1995, in spite of glowing reviews, the "Homecoming" production did not sell out often.

However, Monte, who's also the company's artistic director, says several factors influenced her choice of another Pinter play for this season.

"We have a mission, and that's to do great plays, and this is one of them," Monte says. "I think people will be watching Pinter plays in a hundred years just as they now watch and enjoy Shakespeare's plays 400 years after they were written. Read more.


Things to do in Morris County: Shakespeare Theatre presents Pinter's 'No Man's Land'

By William Westhoven
The Daily Record

Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte originally planned to stage Harold Pinter's "The Caretaker" as a centerpiece of her 20th anniversary season at the helm of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. She had two good reasons. First, she is a rabid fan of the Nobel Prize-winning British playwright, whose provocative works have shocked, stunned and stimulated minds for more than 50 years. Second, she had three of her favorite actors - Sherman Howard, Paul Mullins and Derek Wilson - lined up to fill the cast. Read more.


Shakespeare Theatre in Madison sets stage for Pinter's 'No Man's Land'

By Liz Keill
Independent Press

Harold Pinter’s “No Man’s Land,” will be featured on the main stage of The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, from Aug. 11 to 29. This 1975 modern classic play will be directed by Shakespeare Theater artistic director Bonnie J. Monte.

No Man’s Land” contains adult language and is not recommended for children.
Considered one of the most influential British playwrights in modern times, Harold Pinter was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005. In awarding the prize, the Academy referred to the playwright, screenwriter, actor and director as “a modern classic.” He is the author of 29 stage plays and more than two dozen screenplays. Some of his best known plays include The Caretaker, The Homecoming, and Betrayal. His screenplay adaptations include The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Sleuth and many of his plays. Pinter died in 2008. Read more.