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In Pinter’s talk, absurd becomes sublime

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Two hit men are waiting in the basement of a cafe, waiting to be told who their next victim is. That’s the premise of Harold Pinter’s “The Dumb Waiter.”

Scott Sharot and Jeff Silverman will perform the two roles in the one-act play. Silverman portrays Ben and Sharot is Gus.

“The play examines their foibles, their relationship over the years,” said Sharot. “They have little confabs about nonsensical things. Ben has a habit of reading the paper out loud and making comments, like ‘Listen to this.’ Then they talk about sports.”

Silverman said his character of Ben bosses Gus around; Gus is the big sad sack, but he’s always questioning.

The play has absurd moments. For example, in the middle of their discussion someone slides an envelope under the door. Gus opens the envelope on Ben’s instructions. Inside the envelope there are matches to light the stove to make tea, Sharot said, but the stove goes out.

Then they hear a noise. It’s the dumb waiter moving down with food orders as if the basement were the cafe’s kitchen.

“Orders continually come down. We send up food that we had brought with us, a chocolate bar, milk, a few things that we have,” Sharot said.

“So it goes into this whole realm of sending up the food and no one know who it’s for and why we’re sending it up. It’s an absurdity.”

This continues until Gus loses it and gets angry that something is occurring that he doesn’t understand, Sharot said.

Silverman said he’s always liked doing and seeing Pinter’s work.

“He writes about lower classes,” he said. “The ethnicities (of Ben and Gus) we don’t know. They’re working stiffs. The whole play is a metaphor for the corporate world. Pinter has this thing about the class system. You either follow orders of the upper levels or you go by the wayside.”

Silverman said he’s seen “The Dumb Waiter” performed more seriously than the way Frank Melcori is directing him and Sharot.

“We’re trying to get the humor in the relationship, but they don’t say what’s really going on,” Silverman said. “Think of the term Pinter-esque, meaning it’s the small talk and you have to figure out what going on underneath.”

‘The Dumb Waiter’
WHEN: 8 tonight and Saturday, Oct. 22. Repeats Oct. 28 and 29
WHERE: Bébé Cafe, 206 1/2 San Felipe NW, in the Patio Market, Old Town
HOW MUCH: $10 suggested donation

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