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Julian Sands Sheds Light on Playwright Harold Pinter by Reading Pinter’s Poetry

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Julian Sands is a wonderful actor who came into prominence after A Room With A View. He also was Jack Bauer’s nemesis on the iconic TV show 24, and a featured player named “Mr. Sands” in Robert Altman’s production of Harold Pinter’s The Room. At one point in his career, that estimable playwright, author of over 30 stage plays and more than 25 filmed screenplays, took to reading his poetry aloud at a benefit for a woman’s shelter at St. Stephen Walbrook Church in London. When ill health prevented Pinter from keeping this engagement he enlisted the aid of actor Sands to stand in his stead with the proviso being that Sands had to spend time with Pinter rehearsing the works. After that Sands continued to read the poetry at fund-raising events and has done a series of readings at the Odyssey Theatre to help out a theatre that has found itself suffering from the recession.

Julian Sands has become an expert on Pinter’s poems. Sands says, “In these spare but complex works there is an extraordinary revelation of subjective feeling – at once poignant and often hilarious.” With the help of actor John Malkovich he has put together an evening of selections from Pinter’s poems as well as some reflections, commentaries, and anecdotes garnered from their time together. He also borrows heavily from Pinter’s second wife, the writer Antonia Fraser’s book Must You Go? My Life with Harold Pinter.

The evening provided insight into the man (Pinter) who has puzzled many a theatergoer and critic. His poems tend to be much more revealing and even emotional. At intermission a brisk business was happening in the lobby of the Odyssey where the books Mr. Sands used in his presentation were on sale. A Celebration of Harold Pinter was performed at the Odyssey April 6, 7, and 8.

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