Fringe 2009 – Top 10 – #5 – Harold Pinter’s The Dumbwaiter/The Underachiever’s Manifesto


If you held a gun to my head and I could only see 10 Fringe shows, what would they be and why?


Paul von Stoetzel

Harold Pinter’s The Dumbwaiter

Written by 2005 Nobel Award winner Harold Pinter, two professional killers wait in a seemingly abandoned house for their next “job” until a descending dumbwaiter changes everything for the worse.


as writer/director for Uknighted Artists’

The Underachiever’s Manifesto

An adaptation of the funny but true wisdom that demonstrates how striving for mediocrity is the key to happiness. Embrace underachievement with strategies and tips for accomplishing little and feeling great.

This is double-dipping, I know.

But it’s only because Paul von Stoetzel is insane.

The man’s directing not one, but two Fringe shows.

One of them’s Pinter. The other, in addition to directing, he wrote the adaptation.

This, on top of directing Dawn’s Inferno at the Bryant Lake Bowl which, quite literally, just closed.

See? Insane.

So this Top 10 entry is a two-for-one deal. If only to keep up with the guy.

I’ve ruminated on Paul, and The Dumbwaiter, in the previous
Fringe-For-All coverage, so I’ll just link you over to that to get us started. (The variations on Dumbwaiter, Dumb Waiter, confuse me, but only because I start thinking of a person in food service who’s really bad at his job, which the Pinter play is not about at all.)

For Underachiever’s Manifesto, Paul has a cast of overachievers, in Alex Cole & David Tufford.

So, honestly, this is a win-win.

If you go to just one, or (if you’re smart) both, you’ll get a dark comic valentine (or two) to the violence and struggles of the modern world.

Doesn’t get much Fringier than that.

Some other resources to help you make up your mind…

Dumbwaiter podcast on TC Theater Connection

Dumbwaiter show page

Underachiever show page

Fringe-For-All Dumbwaiter preview…