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The Birthday Party & The Room

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  927 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
In The Birthday Party, a musician who escapes to a dilapidated boarding house, where he falls victim to the shadowy, ritualized violence of two men who have followed him from his sinister past.In The Room, a derelict boarding house again becomes the scene of a visitation from the past when a blind man suddenly arrives to deliver a mysterious message.
Both plays are investe
Paperback, 120 pages
Published January 20th 1994 by Grove Press (first published 1961)
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May 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Earlier this month I attended a live performance by Julian Sands called A Celebration of Harold Pinter. Inspired by Pinter's little-known poetry, it's informed by and interspersed with anecdotes and quotes from Pinter himself, his colleagues and his wife. Some of the poetry seemed rather good, but I wondered if it sounded good (as opposed to if I'd read it on the page) because of Sands' wonderful delivery. I'm guessing Pinter wrote his poetry as he did his plays, knowing what pauses and emphases ...more
Sep 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: drama
written in 1957 while in his mid-twenties , the room and the birthday party were harold pinter's first two plays. the english dramatist's first attempts at creating theatrical works were initially ridiculed, but pinter is now acclaimed as one of the world's finest playwrights. he has won an appreciable number of awards, including the nobel prize for literature in 2005. besides his play-writing, pinter is also well known for his poetry, acting, directing, and political activism.

the apparent simp
Erin the Avid Reader ⚜BFF's with the Cheshire Cat⚜
I was originally going to give two separate ratings for "The Birthday Party" and "The Room", yet right after I finished the second play I realized that both "The Birthday Party" and "The Room" warrant 5 stars.

This is my first time reading anything by Harold Pinter, yet after 5 pages of reading him I realized how long pauses and silences are used liberally in his work. This was rather frustrating at first yet after a while it grew on me and realized just how important it really was in terms of d
Oct 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Harold Pinter's style is difficult to pinpoint, and yet is unmistakable. His cleverly written, unwaveringly unsetting plays need time to settle in one's mind, like tea leaves only slowly revealing a fortune, and even then they remain cryptic, full of mysteries. This happens even more so when they are read and not seen, as in performance a director can make a clear choice, while a reader is left with a multitude of possibilities coexisting at any given moment, and, as a number of them will equal ...more
Seth Kupchick
I just can't break into this play as much as I've wanted to since my '20's. I used to love reading plays as much as seeing them performed, but for whatever reason Pinter has left me dry. It doesn't mean he's not a great playwright, but he's not for me.
Геллее Салахов Авбакар
The Piece that inspires me the most was the Room, this was somehow the meaningful master piece of Harold as an Absurd writer, well in fact it's all about a scarified woman who is sticking around the room and each time talking to herself, her husband stays reading the newspaper for the most of the play, and finally the Protagonist became blind. I think that it's funny to argue about that. since we are in the circle of Absurdity... Everything is possible.
Dec 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Pinter rocks in his first well-made play, The Birthday Party (1958).
Using his brief, telegram-like language, pauses, interrogation, kitchen-sink probs.... he makes us see the menace that attacks at any minute!
Your past will haunt you.... your identity is fragmented, truth subsides...!
Not an absurdist... but rather...a mirror of our own language, style, microcosm of the world....standing for the Big Fearful world of warring authorities, crushing the innocent!
Apr 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: any existentialist junkie
I swear, reading Pinter plays is like walking in on random private conversations between avant-garde literati on crack. There is never a beginning or an end, dialogues are lightning-fast, and when you are finished you are left with a feeling that something really cool had just happened, you just aren’t sure what. This is cool stuff!
Sep 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: drama
Quite shocking to experince dark side of human nature and life on stage ... a fascinating mimesis of inevitability of gloomy human fate ... an analysis of being despaired due to the unability of "touching" life and becoming aware of the fact that any chance of "gaining" hope for further pace is all in vain ...
Coralie Johnson
Mar 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theater
At the University of Wisconsin, Marinette's Theater on the Bay, I played the part of Lulu. This play was produced in conjunction with a class entitled Theater of the Absurd. It was performed in a "theater-in-the-round" format by using a very large retangular Asian rug. The action of the play took place entirely upon this rug. It was my favorite theater role of all time!
Julio César
Jan 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quite disturbing little book, I must say. Having read no Pinter's plays before, I didn't know what I was to find. I did find something, though: a very personal voice, two plays written by a then young fellow (29 years old), who in 2005 was awarded the Nobel prize for Literature. I'll keep him in mind.
Jul 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much like other Pinter plays, I enjoyed this, particularly The Birthday Party. I felt a bit that The Room was not enough to really mean anything to me, and its pointless violence seemed a bit out of left field. The Birthday Party was far more creepy in it's own surreal way.
Sep 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Probably better to watch than to read. On paper these come across as occasionally funny but generally just too weird and artsy-fartsy.
Apr 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Reading Pinter is no small task. However, I submit that my appreciation for Pinter’s absurdism grew the more works of his I read. The more I read, the easier it became for me to embrace the chaos, the nonsense. This, though, didn’t make the ceaseless unanswered questions and constant useless banter any less annoying. Pinter is definitely an acquired taste, but an intriguing one at that.
Jul 01, 2007 rated it liked it
هارولد پینتر با اولین نمایش نامه اش "اتاق" به مکتب "تیاتر بیهودگی" پیوست، و به سرعت کنار نام آوران این نوع تیاتر قرار گرفت. از "ناکجا آباد" (1974) به بعد، "یکی برای جاده"(1984)، "کوه زبان" (1988)، "نظم نوین جهانی"(1991) و ... خمیرمایه ی سیاسی آثارش جلوه ی بیشتری یافت، و مواضعش در مورد قشار جهان آزاد بر کوبا و نیکاراگوا، و بالاخره علیه آمریکا و انگلیس و جنگ عراق، خشمگینانه تر و تهاجمی تر شد. پینتر با اقتباس برخی نوشته هایش، تعدادی فیلم نامه هم نوشته که مشهورترین آنها "مستخدم" 1963 و "تصادف" اند ک ...more
Jan 14, 2008 rated it liked it
Again with the plays! I still think that I need to read some more about Pinter's style to fully enjoy these. Of these two, I liked "The Birthday Party" better, but they were both very odd. I think of the 3 plays by Harold Pinter I've read so far, "The Lover" was the most accessible. Interesting to read, probably just as weird to see performed.

Recommended for people into modernist philosophies, neo-intellectual beatniks, and people really into the history of drama. General audiences would probabl
Fred Voon
Dec 18, 2013 rated it liked it
I think this is the type of stuff that people think is good because people say (or person says) it's good. Having said that, the stuff is not bad - two plays from the late 50s full of neurotic behaviour and freighted with political meaning.
Dec 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Definitely absurd theatre. Definitely strange.
But not terrible. I wouldn't like to see it performed, but to read it once is quite interesting. Not sure of the meaning behind the story- but I don't regret reading it or anything.
Kyle Muntz
Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
....This one just didn't work for me, though possibly this could be because I don't like reading plays. There's some interesting stuff done with ambiguity of context/identity (usually stuff I would be into) but nothing in the play works well enough for that to matter.
Dec 23, 2009 rated it it was ok
I really disliked The Room. The Birthday Party was much better, but I think I don't really appreciate Pinter.
I love Harold Pinter, and these two plays did not disappoint, although I preferred "The Birthday Party" to "The Room". I think they both helped to inspire Beckett's "Happy Days".
Oct 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
The dark side of human nature, inevitable fate wrapped in what is a surprisingly simple story.
Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very unsettling, but what on earth is it about? haha
Apr 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Wonderful. Exhausting. Strange.
Michelle Lynne
Apr 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: plays
Another great play with another misleading title by Pinter.
Asa Merritt
Jun 16, 2007 rated it liked it
Scaarrrrry. Scaarrrrry! You feel a deep dread reading it, and it keeps swinging you down down and around well after.
Oct 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this was a revelation; the birthday party seems to have originated so much of modern avnt garde, i saw David Lynch in here, for instance. Merciless. the room is even darker...
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2017 Reading Chal...: The Birthday Party - Harold Pinter 1 17 Mar 23, 2015 07:50PM  
  • The Theatre of the Absurd
  • Collected Shorter Plays
  • Blasted
  • The Cryptogram
  • The Essential Bogosian: Talk Radio / Drinking in America / Funhouse / Men Inside
  • Hurlyburly
  • Naked Masks: Five Plays
  • The Sandbox & The Death of Bessie Smith
  • Rhinoceros and Other Plays
  • The Maids & Deathwatch
  • Uncommon Women and Others
  • The Knight of the Burning Pestle
  • Plays 1: Owners / Traps / Vinegar Tom / Light Shining in Buckingshire / Cloud Nine
  • Six Plays of Strindberg: The Father / Miss Julie / The Stronger / Easter / A Dream Play / The Ghost Sonata
  • Three Plays: Once in a Lifetime / You Can't Take it With You / The Man Who Came to Dinner
  • Complete Plays and Prose
  • The Real Inspector Hound and Other Plays
  • Baal
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 about Harold Pinter

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