Many opportunities to fall in love with Pinter’s ‘The Lover’

The Daily Republic Feature, Amy Maginnis-Honey, August 25, 2017

VALLEJO — Fall in love with “The Lover” again, as the Valley Players bring the Harold Pinter show to Vallejo for a three-week run.

The Valley Players did three performances of the quirky show in January at the Napa Valley Performing Arts Center in Yountville

Debbie Baumann is at the helm again. June Alane Reif, Richard Pallaziol and Walter Hamlin reprise their roles and are joined by Robert Silva.

June Alane Reif and Robert Silva in Harold Pinter's The LoverSilva wasn’t very familiar with the play until he read it.

“It’s one of those (shows) that makes you think,” he said.

Like many fellow cast mates and crew, Silva previously worked with Dreamweavers Theatre in Napa. He played the bus driver in “Bus Stop” and Baumann was Grace.

He’s also worked with Napa’s Lucky Penny Productions.

“The show can be perceived and interpreted as kind of sick and twisted,” he said of “The Lover.”

“Ultimately it’s about what two people do to keep their marriage together,” Silva said.

He praised his fellow cast members and Baumann for their dedication to the craft.

“There’s nothing like it,” he said of live theater. “There’s nothing that can match it.”

Pallaziol works with Marin Shakespeare. He feels “The Lover,” which premiered in 1962, is a look at a repressed society during that era.

“It’s an interesting thing to explore,” he said of the plot, which centers on a couple who appear publicly to have a great marriage. Behind closed doors it’s a different story.

His main concentration is on fight choreography. Pallaziol also enjoys acting, recently performing in a show at Petaluma’s Cinnabar Theater.

Pinter plays are fun to dissect, he feels, saying the focus is often on what the playwright didn’t say.

Reif felt the three January performances wouldn’t be the last time the Valley Players tackled “The Lover.”

“It was great fun,” she said. “But when we finished, we felt it wasn’t finished.”

When Stacey Loew, of Bay Area Stage, told her there were dates open at the Vallejo theater, Reif said the cast and crew knew they had to bring it to Solano County.

The Vallejo show will be done on a revolving stage Reif helped build.

“It left us wanting to perform it again,” Baumann said in a press release. “These actors are some of the best in the valley and deserve another chance to perform this intriguing show.”

The Valley Players, founded in 2016, is a community-based group from the Napa Valley that aims to empower women 40 and older in theater arts.


Many opportunities to fall in love with Pinter’s ‘The Lover’