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The Birthday Party

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  7,301 Ratings  ·  198 Reviews
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.
Paperback, 96 pages
Published March 1991 by Faber & Faber (first published 1957)
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Barry Pierce
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Fabian
Sep 17, 2012 rated it liked it
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!) ...more
Mariel
Mar 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: you came right out of the blue, you know that?
Recommended to Mariel by: you're a dead duck
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 kit
...more
نقد روز
جشن تولد نمایشنامه ای است درباره پارانویا، درباره ناتوانی در برقراری ارتباط و جستجو به دنبال هویت و حقیقت. استنلی یک سالی است که در مسافرخانه به هم ریخته ای مخفی شده است، می ترسد و می داند که بالاخره روزی کسی برای مجازاتش می آید. با این حال وقتی که گلدبرگ و مک کان به آن جا می رسند، او هیچ تلاشی برای فرار نمی کند، چون می داند که نمی تواند از دست سرنوشت فرار کند. او به لولو می گوید که تنها جایگزین برای "اینجا" "هیچ جا" است. استنلی به دلایل بیان نشده ای رابطه اش با پدرش را قطع کرده است، شاید که مسا ...more
Arman
Feb 21, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: plays
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 ...more
Jyoti
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Shahram Keivani
Jan 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Sarah
Apr 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
First reading: 10th May 2016
Second reading 13th May 2017

پنج ستاره هم ميتونستم بدم بهشااا! ولي خوبه همين چهار...
hossein sharifi
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
a brilliant, confusing, and shocking play ....
it takes hours and hours to talk about.
sohrab mohajer
ابزورد اما نه به کیفیت بکت
نمایشنامه درد بیچارگی آدمی ست که با انزوا هم کارش درست نمی شود و هر چه می خواهد از مهلکه دور بماند بالاخره پایش گیر است و گویی هر رفتاری حتی در زندانی نمادین خود را پنهان کردن ، کنشی محسوب می شود و چاره ای برای فرار نیست
، پس بهتر که به جای چشم بستن و گوشه نشینی ، اعتراض را چاره کنیم ،
پینتر این را نمی گوید ولی من این طور نتیجه گرفتم !!!!
Rachel Louise Atkin
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I have absolutely no idea what I just read but it was really weird and I'm weird too so I liked it.
Xueting
Jun 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own-this, school
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 Pinte
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Birthday Party, Harold Pinter
عنوان: جشن تولد، به همراه نقدی از استیون اچ. گیل؛ نویسنده: هارولد پینتر؛ مترجم: شعله آذر؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، انتشارات افراز، چاپ نخست 1385، در 234 ص
شابک چاپ دوم در سال 1388: 9789647640978؛
Lostaccount
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
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 ca
...more
Emlinn
Jan 07, 2012 rated it liked it
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 unsai
...more
Sachin
Jun 17, 2010 rated it liked it
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.
Nahal
Feb 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Absurd banality at its best.
Sheikha Alhilaly
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5/5

As much as I hate absurdist theater, as much as I like the plays. It's a very strange dilemma.
Sam
May 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
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"; more 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 ...more
DRM
May 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 more subtly effective approach (Michael Haneke's Funny Games being a prime example).
Hagar
Apr 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is Pinter's first well-made play!! Themes of Isolation, menace, the Other, the haunting past, idenity...and 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 night...revolving round a birthday party! It will leave you puzzled..and in terror just as anything else in life!
Susana
Dec 02, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Un completo galimatías.
Manab
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: play
দারুণ।

পিনটার সাহেবের সাথে তাঁর সমসাময়িক বাদবাকীদের একটা তফাত হইলো পিনটারের গযাংষটারপরীতি। এইটা সমভবত তাঁর দবিতীয় নাটক, এইখানে গযাংষটার, তৃতীয়টাতেও আছে তারা, তাও আবার জোড়ায় জোড়ায়। তবে এরা ঠিক মসতানি করে বলে গোচর হয় না, এদের কাজকরম - ষটাইলগত কারণেই হবে - হয় অনেকখানি হাসযসপদ, কিনতু ভয়ানক, হযাঁ, ভয়ানকও অনেকখানি। এই নাটকে একজন মানুষরে নাসতানাবুদ করার গলপ আছে, আছে তারে ঠেলতে ঠেলতে মাথাটারে খাদে ফেলে দেয়ার কাহিনী, আর আছে পেনসিলে আঁকা বদবুধারী কিছু চরিতর, যারা চোখের সামনে যাই ঘটে যাক, যেনো দেখতে রাজী ন
...more
Lori
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: plays
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Yazan
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
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 en ...more
Lynn
Feb 09, 2018 rated it liked it
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 thi
...more
Jasmine
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 more depth.
vasiliki
Jan 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: plays
Pinter knows how build tension and this sense of imminent threat, a shadow lurking behind or above you.
Very, very interesting.
Esmay
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
all I am is confusion
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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,
...more
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“GOLDBERG. Of course, now. Time’s getting on. Round the corner, remember? Mention my name.” 1 likes
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