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The Birthday Party

The Birthday Party
Your Price: $16.95 CDN
Author: Harold Pinter
Publisher: Samuel French, Inc.
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 90
Pub. Date: 2011
ISBN-10: 0573606080
ISBN-13: 9780573606083
Cast Size: 2 women, 4 men

About the Play:

The Birthday Party was one of Royal National Theatre of Britain's top 100 plays of the 20th century.

The Birthday Party
is a full-length drama by Harold Pinter. In a small house at a coastal resort live a man, his mentally wayward wife and their boarder who has been with them for a year. The arrival of two ominous strangers seems to offer a welcome distraction from their mundane existence. But when an impromptu, seemingly innocent birthday party abruptly turns into a deadly game of cat and mouse, there are horrifying repercussions. By turns, cryptic thriller and macabre comedy, The Birthday Party was Harold Pinter's first full-length play and is now a modern classic, produced and studied throughout the world.

The Birthday Party focuses on Stanley Webber who the only lodger in a neglected boarding house in an English seaside town run by Petey and Meg Bowles, a couple in their sixties. The solitary boarder is a piano player, who rarely ventures out. On the day of Stanley's birthday, the unsettling arrival of a sleek stranger Goldberg, and his muscle bound Irish henchman McCann disrupts the humdrum lives of the inhabitants. The mentally immature Meg accommodates them with a room and then decides that it is time for Stanley to have a birthday celebration. At the party she arranges, Goldberg and McCann play cruel games with Stanley, and mundanity soon becomes menace when a seemingly innocent birthday party turns into a disturbing nightmare. Truth and alliances hastily shift in Harold Pinter's mysterious classic drama about the absurd terrors of the everyday.

The Birthday Party premiered in 1958 at the Lyric Opera House (now the Lyric Hammersmith) in London. The play premiered on Broadway in 1967 at the Booth Theatre. Since then, the play has been performed off-Broadway and regionally around North America countless times.

Cast: 2 women, 4 men.

What people say:

"I am willing to risk whatever reputation I have as a judge of plays by saying that The Birthday Party is not a Fourth, not even a Second, but a First; and that Pinter, on the evidence of his work, possesses the most original, disturbing and arresting talent in theatrical London." — The Sunday Times

"Fascinating capacity to be menacing, ominous and evocative of some dark and threatening doom." — New York Post

"The most interesting play to be seen on Broadway." — New York Times

About the Playwright:

Harold Pinter (1930-2008) was an English playwright, screenwriter, actor, theatre director, poet, and Nobel laureate. He wrote 29 plays including The Birthday Party, The Caretaker, The Homecoming, and Betrayal, 15 dramatic sketches, 21 screenplays, as well as books of poetry and fiction, and directed 27 theatre productions. He continued to act under his own name, on stage and screen. His genius was recognized within his lifetime as a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005 (the highest honour available to any writer in the world), the Companion of Honour for services to Literature, the Legion D'Honneur, the European Theatre Prize, the Laurence Olivier Award and the Moliere D'Honneur for lifetime achievement. In 1999 he was made a Companion of Literature by the Royal Society of Literature, in addition to 18 other honorary degrees.

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