Magazine

Feature: Pinter's plays

Date posted: 12 Nov 2011

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The Room
(1957) - Pinter's first play, and his first 'comedy of menace', about a married couple Rose and Bert who live in a rundown bedsit and endure a series of visitations by strange characters that ends in violence

The Birthday Party(1957) - the play that made his name, it follows piano player Stanley Webber, who is enjoying a celebration arranged for him by his boarding house landlords when a visit by two thugs turns it to nightmare

The Dumb Waiter(1957) - two hitmen camp out in a basement room idly waiting to complete a job when a dumbwaiter in the corner begins spitting out mysterious orders

A Slight Ache(1958) - a married couple struggle with the inevitability of growing old

The Hothouse(1958) - the inmates of an institution toy with the definition of sanity as they perform and accuse one another of various crimes

The Caretaker(1959) - a three-act play following the interactions between a young man, his mentally challenged brother and a homeless man

A Night Out(1959) - a young man deals with persecution at his workplace by demeaning a young woman he meets when wandering the streets of London
Night School (1960) - a man returns home from a stint in jail to find his aunts have let his room

The Dwarfs(1960) - a series of broken conversations between three young men

The Collection(1961) - a comedy about two couples trying to unravel the truth about whether two of them did or did not have a one-night stand while on a work trip

The Lover(1962) - a one-act play about a husband who agrees to disguise himself as a stranger to fulfill his wife's fantasy of adultery, but soon tires of the charade

Tea Party(1964) - a glimpse into the life of a self-made business man who hires a secretary, gets married and takes on a new business partner all in the same day

The Homecoming(1964) - Teddy brings his wife Ruth from their home in the US to meet his father and brothers in their home in North London, unwittingly arousing the ghosts of the past

The Basement(1966) - two men, Law and Stott, battle for dominance over a basement flat and a girl

Landscape(1967) - the first of Pinter's "memory plays", this is a largely plotless one-act play focusing on a married couple in the kitchen of a country house who struggle to communicate

Silence(1968) - a short play dealing with the silence that exists when no words are spoken and also when a torrent of words are unleashed

Old Times(1970) - married couple Kate and Deeley must face the past when their old friend Anna comes to visit

Monologue(1972) - a man in a grubby room talks to an empty chair

No Man's Land(1974) - upper class alcoholic Hirst invites the down and out Spooner to his house after a session at the pub and as the night (and the drinking) goes on it transpires that the men may share a past

Betrayal(1978) - one of Pinter's most famous works, inspired by his affair with Joan Bakewell during his first marriage, this play uses reverse chronology to tell the story of the disintegration of a marriage and the involvement of the husband's best friend

Family Voices(1980) - a radio play about a mother, son and dead father communicating through letters

A Kind of Alaska(1982) - Deborah awakes after 30 years in a comatose state and must learn to live again

Victoria Station(1982) - a short play of dialogue between a radio controller and a train driver
One for the Road (1984) - Pinter's first overtly political play, this is about a married couple and their seven-year-old son, who are brutally interrogated by a soldier in a totalitarian regime

Mountain Language(1988) - a politically charged play about four prisoners and their experiences with officers and guards at a prison

The New World Order(1991) - two men chat while standing over a third man who is bound and blindfolded

Party Time(1991) - a party takes place in an apartment while a military presence looms on the street below

Moonlight(1993) - a man on his deathbed relives moments from his life

Ashes to Ashes(1996) - this two-hander is a conversation between a man and a woman, whose relationship to one another is unclear and constantly shifts throughout the play

Celebration(1999) - three couples dine in a London restaurant and their conversation is intersected with comments from the staff, and gradually a dark undertone to the scene is revealed

Remembrance of Things Past(2000) - a theatre collaboration with Di Trevis based on Pinter's at that point unproduced The Proust Screenplay, which was an adaptation of Proust's mighty novel À la recherche du temps perdu