PINTER AND PIRANDELLO (Lemaz Productions), with Brenda Bazinet and John Evans. See Opening, page 76. Rating: NNNNN
Brenda Bazinet thrives on working with the heavyweights. After spending the past year out of town acting in Edward Albee and Arthur Miller, she's back in Toronto in a pair of one-acts by Luigi Pirandello and Harold Pinter.
"I took on the project because I knew they'd be a challenge," confesses the actor, who's also branched out into directing. As an actor she has an uncanny ability to convey a sense of both vulnerability and power in her characters.
She and John Evans are the performers in Pirandello's I'm Dreaming, But Am I? and Pinter's The Lover. In the first, she's a woman who, separating emotionally from a partner, is unsure about what's real and what's not. In the latter, she's the wife in a marriage full of games and surprises.
"They're both about relationships, and neither can be handled solely in an intellectual fashion," says Bazinet. "Both deal with how to discover a balance, how after a period of time people who have been close to each other find they're no longer in sync. The plays start from a crisis point, when something's going to break."
But even with that link, the two are different stylistically.
"The Pirandello is more out there emotionally, while the Pinter is all in what you don't say - the pauses, the repression.
"I feel a bit schizophrenic switching gears as we rehearse," she smiles, "and it's even harder because they touch on similar subjects. I'm Dreaming is more volatile and expressive, while The Lover is all in your head. If the first has one character ask the other, 'Why don't you love me?', in the second the implied statement is, 'If you don't love me, don't say it. '"
Bazinet's made her mark not just with international playwrights but also in Canadian pieces like Alex Poch-Goldin's This Hotel and George Walker's The End Of Civilization.
"I love working with writers who demand so much of actors. You think you can stop at one level and then realize that you're never finished delving."