-The New York Times
At a sleepy seaside boarding house in England, the humdrum routine of corn flakes, newspapers and naps is interrupted by the appearance of two mysterious strangers. They become guests at longtime tenant Stanley's surprise birthday party which, after a few glasses of whiskey, party games and a mysterious blackout, turns into a deliciously impalpable nightmare. As excuses and alliances hastily shift, so does the truth in Harold Pinter's riveting dark-comic masterpiece. Harold Pinter was a director, actor and one of the most influential modern British dramatists, winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005. His celebrated, ultimately undefinable classic The Birthday Party derives its power from Pinter's brilliantly mysterious yet comic riff on the absurd terrors of the everyday.
New Upstairs Theatre
Director and ensemble member Austin Pendleton and scenic designer Walt Spangler are creating an exciting new set for The Birthday Party, which involves bringing the audience closer to the story—literally. We will be reconfiguring the Upstairs Theatre by moving the stage to the center of the room, creating a space that allows for better acoustics and greater intimacy with the audience up front and up close to the action. No seat will be more than eight rows from the stage. This artist-generated design allows for elements of fun and surprise that should make for a compelling and exciting play-going experience.
Sunday, March 31 at 7:30pm
Saturday, April 27 at 3pm
Audio Description and Touch Tour
Sunday, April 14
Touch Tour: 1:30pm
Watch & Listen
Cast & Artists
"Time has proven its brilliance"
"Creepily sinister, often darkly funny play"
"Huge waves of intrigue crest and fall at this beachside haven"
–The Fourth Walsh
"Spellbinding...this is a 'Birthday Party' you will not soon forget"
Steppenwolf’s Literary Manager Aaron Carter shares his personal connection to the play
Designer Walt Spangler discusses the set for The Birthday Party with Artistic Director Martha Lavey.
A welcome letter from Artistic Director Martha Lavey