Clive Owen Opens Broadway’s ‘Old Times’ with Ambiguity and Lots of Cigarettes

It can safely be said that the Roundabout Theater Company’s Broadway revival of Harold Pinter’s “Old Times,” starring Clive Owen, Eve Best and Kelly Reilly, opened Oct. 6. That definitely happened. As for what happened during the famously enigmatic play itself — well, that’s up for debate.

According to director Douglas Hodge, Owen came into the project with an extensive theory of what it’s all about. “I had a few theories at the beginning,” Owen clarified after the opening night performance of the show, which marks his Broadway debut. “Of course none of them hold up now, because we realized it’s much more freeform than that.

“That’s hard if you’re an actor like me,” he continued. “I’m always a logic monster. To be able to work my way through something it has to be logical, but this play isn’t that. You realize that instead it’s this very musical poem about memory and sexual jealousy.”

“It’s such an elusive beast,” agreed Reilly, who knows a thing or two about slippery storytelling after her turn in season two of “True Detective.” “The more you tackle it, the more it gets away from you.”

One thing that certainly happened on that stage: lots and lots of smoking. (Herbal cigarettes, but still.)

“I hate it!” Best declared. “All three of us are ex-smokers. We’ve had to keep an eye on each other make sure none of us start up again.”

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