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The Birthday Party

The Birthday Party Stanley Webber is visited in his boarding house by strangers Goldberg and McCann An innocent seeming birthday party for Stanley turns into a nightmare The Birthday Party was first performed in a

  • Title: The Birthday Party
  • Author: Harold Pinter
  • ISBN: 9780571160785
  • Page: 352
  • Format: Paperback
  • Stanley Webber is visited in his boarding house by strangers, Goldberg and McCann An innocent seeming birthday party for Stanley turns into a nightmare.The Birthday Party was first performed in 1958 and is now a modern classic, produced and studied throughout the world.

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    About "Harold Pinter"

    1. Harold Pinter

      Harold Pinter, CH, CBE, was an English playwright, screenwriter, actor, director, political activist and poet He was one of the most influential playwrights of modern times In 2005 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.After publishing poetry and acting in school plays as a teenager in London, Pinter began his professional theatrical career in 1951, touring throughout Ireland From 1952, he acted in repertory companies throughout England for about a dozen years, using the stage name David Baron in the late 1950s Beginning with his first play, The Room 1957 , Pinter s writing career spanned over 50 years and produced 29 original stage plays, 27 screenplays, many dramatic sketches, radio and TV plays, poetry, one novel, short fiction, essays, speeches, and letters His best known plays include The Birthday Party 1957 , The Caretaker 1959 , The Homecoming 1964 , and Betrayal 1978 , each of which he adapted to film His screenplay adaptations of others works include The Servant 1963 , The Go Between 1970 , The French Lieutenant s Woman 1981 , The Trial 1993 , and Sleuth 2007 He directed almost 50 stage, television, and film productions and acted extensively in radio, stage, television, and film productions of his own and others works Despite frail health after being diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in December 2001, Pinter continued to act on stage and screen, last performing the title role in a critically acclaimed stage production of Samuel Beckett s one act monologue Krapp s Last Tape, for the 50th anniversary season of the Royal Court Theatre, in October 2006.Pinter s dramas often involve strong conflicts among ambivalent characters who struggle for verbal and territorial dominance and for their own versions of the past Stylistically, these works are marked by theatrical pauses and silences, comedic timing, irony, and menace Thematically ambiguous, they raise complex issues of individual identity oppressed by social forces, language, and vicissitudes of memory In 1981, Pinter stated that he was not inclined to write plays explicitly about political subjects yet in the mid 1980s he began writing overtly political plays, reflecting his own heightening political interests and changes in his personal life This new direction in his work and his left wing political activism stimulated additional critical debate about Pinter s politics Pinter, his work, and his politics have been the subject of voluminous critical commentary.Pinter received numerous awards In addition to the Nobel Prize, he received the Tony Award for Best Play in 1967 for The Homecoming He was given BAFTA awards, the French L gion d honneur and 20 honorary degrees Festivals and symposia have been devoted to him and his work In awarding the Nobel Prize, the Swedish Academy noted, That he occupies a position as a modern classic is illustrated by his name entering the language as an adjective used to describe a particular atmosphere and environment in drama Pinteresque He died from liver cancer on 24 December 2008 He was buried the following week at Kensal Green Cemetery in North West London.

    180 Comments

    1. The Birthday Party is the play I d give to someone if I really wanted them to be scared shitless by Harold Pinter There is no easy way into Pinter so it s best to just crash land into his work This play contains everything that one may describe as Pinteresque Long pauses Overwhelming dread Near deathly tension And, of course, humour Dark, dark humour Stanley is a lodger in a house in a seaside town He lives with the owners of the house They are simply folk One day two men turn up at the house an [...]


    2. Oh, gee As with Shaw Beckett, Pinter s first work is not without its charm The uselessness and bleakness angle so articulately employed in Godot is present here as well there is an aimlessness, a sense of character alienation on an individual basis perhaps actual just sound and fury signifying nil All the characters seem to be pawns in that Classical Narrative sort of way but they are obvious embodiments of other things FOR SURE Pinter seems like the most surreal hooray of the three amigos but I [...]


    3. Goldberg You re dead You can t live, you can t think, you can t love You re dead You re a plague gone bad There s no juice in you You re nothing but an odour Goldberg and McMann eviscerate Stanley Who are Goldberg and McMann Two men to mysteriously show up and ask for a room in the boarding house that isn t a boarding house They mean business of menace and firey pits of scorn Go Stanley It s your birthday I pictured Stanley to not fit his own clothes He doesn t fit his time, the kitchen in the b [...]



    4. I really did NOT like it this is a play which lots of modern playwrights refer to as kind of a masterpiece there are hundreds of how to write a play books which you can find in every bookstore and I bet 99% of em has pulled out something outta this play as sort of an instance, so you choose to read this play and you re really excited about it you ve even got this assumption that you re gonna read something absurd, but from what you ve read in past, absurd plays usually have several layers and th [...]


    5. If you are a literature student and haven t read this play, go sue your university.If you re a literature student, you ve read the play and hated it, go sell your degree.If you are a literature student, have read the play and are indifferent to it, I understand.If you re a layman and you ve read the play, bravo Honestly, I don t know how I d have reacted if I d read the play when I was younger But literature develops taste for all things.Be forewarned This is a play belonging to absurd theatre I [...]


    6. Overall, The Birthday Party is both extremely conventional and entirely unique Most of its elements are easy to recognize and understand, but the relationships between those elements is slippery and difficult to pinpoint You re dead You can t live, you can t think, you can t love You re dead You re a plague gone bad There s no juice in you You re nothing but an odor Goldberg to Stanley, 62






    7. whaaaaa This play is brilliant I feel a little confused but in a mind blown way I feel a lot of pathos for Stanley, who has his comfortably peaceful although mundane life disturbed by two strangers who really put the strange in strangers staying at the boarding house in just one day But Stanley himself is such an enigma to me too, it s hard to feel very personally for him And the two strangers what on earth is this job and mission they re there to do I like how Harold Pinter approaches the compl [...]



    8. What makes the toilet bowl in an art gallery a work of art as opposed to it being simply a lavatory for public use is that it s installed by an artist instead of a plumber and that an art critic or somebody who wants to call you a philistine comes along and attachs meaning to the toilet bowl.Well I don t go in for that kind of crap I don t like being told what to think I ll make up my own mind, and I don t believe The Birthday Party means anything unless you want it to mean something You can say [...]


    9. It s a play in which very little of importance is said there are no monologues which I would like to quote, in fact, I did not highlight a single passage, a rather unusual feat in my reading history It s rather in the inane babble of Meg that it first comes out that there is something amiss, and the script is a subdued matter to read but which I imagine can be brilliantly performed by a cast of energetic and intense actors.It s a sinister and dark play, which particularly highlights the unsaid, [...]


    10. a play depicting the modern rootlessness of man, who is wandering with no origin and no destination He can be involved in dual relationship of being a lover and a surrogate son There is something always lurking which haunts him so that he is not able to articulate himself fully The Postmodernism predominates and in the wake of it, the danger, futility, absurdity, terror, guilt, nothingness, all prevails, which never allows the protagonist to rest, and there is no solace for him.




    11. Why give The Birthday Party only four stars and The Caretaker five While the former play is certainly Pinter s most famous, and contains a good sampling of his notable techniques disconnected language, extreme power relationships, and a persistent sense of threat and violence it s a much messier play than The Caretaker themes are addressed, but Pinter s ambitions often get in the way of his sense of character In the end, preference between the two plays seems highly personal to me The Birthday [...]


    12. Definitely my favorite Pinter that I ve read so far It s so tense and violent but what makes it work so amazingly well is how implied and ambiguous all the confrontations are I d love to see this on stage to get the full experience of the shouting match and blackout scenes The influence of this play seems pretty widespread but others usually fall way short of Pinter s subtly effective approach Michael Haneke s Funny Games being a prime example.


    13. This is Pinter s first well made play Themes of Isolation, menace, the Other, the haunting past, idenityd relationships are ale embedded there A Lovely Pinteresque Language entraps you as well throughout the play The play takes place in almost one day and a nightvolving round a birthday party It will leave you puzzled.d in terror just as anything else in life




    14. What did I take when I read this I feel so high The story takes places in a run down boardinghouse Meg, the owner, calls out to her husband Petey to come get his breakfast a bowl of cornflakes, and then asks, are they nice as though she had slaved over making them all morning long She s annoying throughout and doesn t let the poor man enjoy his measly breakfast in peace, but I guess that s her way of making small talk in a house marriage where nothing much goes on She then yells for the one and [...]


    15. Brilliant metaphor surreal Kafkaesque portrayal of humanity, each of us locked in our own private world, all of us quite mad, whether mired in tedium or manic in the pursuit of our goals or the flight from our fears, each of us must deal with the absurdity that confronts or compels us in our own peculiar way It is our idiosyncrasies which ultimately define us And though the characters are somewhat burlesque as Pinter is apt to do , one can easily recognise behaviours consistent with those encoun [...]


    16. I read this for the Nobel Book Club I also read another play of his Dumb Waiter because it was short and an introduction which was from a speech he gave.I found his work derivative of Beckett in many ways Not sure why he won the Nobel, based on these two plays, but I did like his play Betrayal Having met with my Nobel Prize Winners book club, we all found the play confusing absurd As with most plays, I feel like reading it isn t really the point, but I can t imagine sitting through this play In [...]


    17. It started off okay, and then it was just a whirlwind of craziness 2 stars for now, but I have to go back through this play and analyse it, so maybe my interpretation will change once I ve read it in depth.



    18. Pinter knows how build tension and this sense of imminent threat, a shadow lurking behind or above you.Very, very interesting.



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