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Julian Sands plays Pinter in Green Valley

Actor Julian Sands will make a one-show appearance in Green Valley on Tuesday night, showcasing the work of Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter. That's right, Julian Sands, from "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," "The Killing Fields," and "A Room with a View." In Green Valley, performing Pinter.

As uncanny as Sands' putting on a show in Green Valley might be, you can get your ticket for $40, plus another buck at the door.

"A Celebration of Harold Pinter" is described as "an evening of Homeric theater with an extraordinary actor, great words and an audience celebrating the man-poet, playwright, husband, political activist, Nobel Prize winner, and mortal," by Green Valley Recreation, which is producing the show.

The production, which Sands created in collaboration with the famed English playwright, features Pinter's poetry, rather than lines from any of his influential plays.

Pinter, who died in 2008, wrote "The Birthday Party," "The Homecoming," and some 27 other plays, inspired his own adjective: "Pinteresque." His theatrical works were what critics termed "the comedy of menace," with long pauses dropped between moments both trivial and threatening to characters caught in a web of circumstance.

In his one-man performance, Sands reads from Pinter's poems, lesser known but no less powerful than his plays. The production was originally directed by John Malkovitch, with the actor having been coached by Pinter himself on how to inflect each line.

From a 2012 New York Times review of the show:

But if the focus is on poetry, “A Celebration” also turns out to celebrate, if indirectly, Pinter as an apostle of the theater. Pinter — who started out as an actor (under the name David Baron) — retained a deep fondness for that profession, Mr. Sands says. It feels right that “A Celebration” has been directed by Mr. Malkovich, a man best known as an actor. For this modest, affecting show embodies the notion of the actor as a transparent vessel through which we see the thoughts and feelings of others. Humility is not a trait usually associated with actors. But there is something profoundly humble about their putting their bodies in the service of other minds.

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That’s why Mr. Sands’s self-effacing mien as a narrator and commentator comes to seem so touching and so appropriate. He doesn’t want to get in Pinter’s way. My favorite moment in the show, by the way, isn’t from a poem, but when Mr. Sands, in Pinter’s voice as director, provides an invaluable demonstration.

“This is a beat. This is a pause. This is a silence.” Those are the words Pinter said. But you have to hear Mr. Sands saying them, at staggered intervals, to feel anew just how vibrant Pinter’s voice is, even when it is not speaking.

If you miss the GV performance, you can catch Sands at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday, but tickets might run you a few more bucks.

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courtesy Shirley Herz & Associates

Julian Sands in 'A Celebration of Harold Pinter.'

If you go

  • What: "A Celebration of Harold Pinter" by Julian Sands
  • Where: GVR West Center Auditorium, 1111 Via Arcoiris, Green Valley
  • When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
  • Tickets: $34 for GVR members, $37 for member guests, and $40 for the general public. Ticket prices increase $1 at the door.