The Birthday Party


  1. ^ a b c d e Michael Billington, "Fighting Talk", The Guardian,, 3 May 2008, Web, 10 June 2008: "This month [May] The Birthday Party returns to the same theatre where it opened exactly 50 years ago. Slated by the critics, it nearly ended Harold Pinter's career. So how did it go on to become such a classic, asks Michael Billington."
  2. ^ a b "The Birthday Party – Premiere". Cambridge Arts Theatre, Cambridge, England, 28 April 1958, in "Plays",, Harold Pinter, 2000–2003, Web, 15 May 2008. (Features texts of selected reviews, including Harold Hobson's "The Screw Turns Again".)
  3. ^ Qtd. in Jamie Andrews, "It Was Fifty Years Ago Today (Almost)", Harold Pinter Archive Blog, British Library, 12 May 2008, Web, 20 May 2008; Andrews is citing a contemporaneous review from May 1958 and context from a letter by Sean Day-Lewis, former drama critic of the Express and Star and the Birmingham Evening Post, published in May 2008. Cf. Sean Day-Lewis, "Birthday Party Bafflement", Guardian, Letters, Guardian Media Group, 20 May 2008, Web, 20 May 2008.
  4. ^ "About the Lyric: History", Lyric Hammersmith, n.d., Web, 9 May 2008.
  5. ^ a b c Matthew Hemley, "50th Anniversary Staging of The Birthday Party to Star Hancock", The Stage, The Stage, 8 April 2008, Web, 9 May 2008.
  6. ^ Harold Hobson, "The Screw Turns Again", The Sunday Times 25 May 1958: 11, rpt. in "The Birthday Party – Premiere",, Harold Pinter, 2000–2003, Web, 15 May 2008.
  7. ^ a b The Birthday Party. American Repertory Theater (ART), Cambridge, Massachusetts, 6–27 March 2004, American Repertory Theater, 2004, Web, 9 May 2008. (Provides useful resources about the playwright and the play.)
  8. ^ a b "The Birthday Party", Socialist Worker, Socialist Worker, 10 May 2008, Web, 9 May 2008: "[The Birthday Party] centres around Stanley Webber, a mysterious man who claims to be a piano player. ... He is visited in the boarding house he now lives in by two sinister characters, Goldberg and McCann, who are looking for a "certain person". ... A birthday party for Stanley turns into a terrible experience. ... The play received poor reviews when it first opened, but today The Birthday Party is rightly recognised as a classic."
  9. ^ The Birthday Party, Lyric Hammersmith, 8–24 May 2008, Web, 9 May 2008.
  10. ^ Theo Bosanquet, "Review Round-up: Birthday Cheers for Pinter Party", What's on Stage,, 14 May 2008, Web, 15 May 2008.
  11. ^ Harold Pinter, Faber Critical Guides (London: Faber and Faber, 2000) 57: The setting evokes "Basingstoke and Maidenhead, southern towns ... and ... London – in both Goldberg and Stanley's reminiscences."
  12. ^ Audio interview with Harold Pinter, conducted by Rebecca Jones, BBC Radio 4,, 12 May 2008, Web, 14 May 2008.
  13. ^ The Birthday Party synopsis, in Samuel French Basic Catalog, rpt. in ("Little Theatre"), n.d., Web, 10 May 2008.
  14. ^ As cited by Susan Hollis Merritt, Pinter in Play: Critical Strategies and the Plays of Harold Pinter (1990; Durham and London: Duke UP, 1995) 5, 9, 225–28, 326.
  15. ^ a b Martin Esslin, The Theatre of the Absurd, 3rd ed., with a new foreword by the author (1961; New York: Vintage [Knopf], 2004). ISBN 978-1-4000-7523-2 (13).
  16. ^ a b For a discussion of "Pinter's 'ambiguity' ", see "Pinter's 'Semantic Uncertainty' and Critically 'Inescapable' Certainties," chapter 4 of Merritt, Pinter in Play 66–86.
  17. ^ Harold Pinter, The Birthday Party, in The Essential Pinter (New York: Grove P, 2006) 14. (Subsequent parenthetical page references to this edition appear in the text.)
  18. ^ a b John Russell Brown, "Words and Silence" (1972), rpt. in 87–99 of Casebook, ed. Scott. (Subsequent parenthetical page references to Brown appear in the text.)
  19. ^ Michael Billington, Harold Pinter, rev. and expanded ed. of The Life and Work of Harold Pinter (1996; London: Faber and Faber, 2007) 76. (Subsequent parenthetical references to this edition appear in the text.)
  20. ^ Arnold P. Hinchliffe, Harold Pinter, Twayne's English Authors Ser.; The Griffin Authors Ser. (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1967; New York: St. Martin's P, 1967) 55, 186. Hinchliffe is quoting from Gregorz Sinko, "Star i Młoda Anglia", Dialogue, 60.4 (April 1961): 97–99. (In Polish.)
  21. ^ This interview was first published in Mel Gussow, "Pinter's Plays Following Him out of Enigma and into Politics", The New York Times, 30 December 1988: C17, as cited in Susan Hollis Merritt, "Pinter and Politics," in chap. 8, "Cultural Politics" of Pinter in Play: Critical Strategies and the Plays of Harold Pinter (Durham and London: Duke UP, 1995) 179. [Petey's line is one of two epigraphs for Pinter in Play; the other is Goldberg's line relating to the theme of social conformity discussed in criticism of the play by Sinko [as cited by Hinchliffe] and others: "Play up, play up, and play the game" (Cf. The Birthday Party in The Essential Pinter 92).] Pinter's comment on Petey's line from Gussow's 30 December 1988 New York Times interview with Pinter is also cited by Gussow in his "Introduction" to Conversations with Pinter, which refers to the edited version of the interview as reprinted in the "December 1988" section of the collection entitled "'Stan, don't let them tell you what to do'" (65–79): "In conversation in 1988, Harold Pinter said that he lived that line all his life. That stubborn individuality has been a chief motivating factor for the playwright, whether he was rejecting his call up for national service as a young man, or, later in his life, reacting to censors, dismissive critics or nations undermining human rights. In the broadest sense, Pinter has always been a conscientious objector, even as people keep trying to tell him what to do" (9).
  22. ^ Qtd. in Mel Gussow, Conversations with Harold Pinter (London: Nick Hern Books, 1994) 69.
  23. ^ a b Bob Bows, 'The Birthday Party' : *** (out of four stars)", The Denver Post,, 11 April 2008, Web, 10 May 2008.
  24. ^ Susan Hollis Merritt, "The Birthday Party: CSC Repertory Theatre, New York, 17 April 1988, 12 Apr. 1988—22 May 1988", Pinter Rev. 2 (1988): 66–70 and "A Conversation with Carey Perloff, Bill Moor, Peter Riegert, Jean Stapleton, and David Strathairn: After matinee of Mountain Language and The Birthday Party[,] By CSC Repertory Ltd.[,] Bruno's, New York, 12 Nov. 1989", The Pinter Review: Annual Essays 1989, ed. Francis Gillen and Steven H. Gale (Tampa: U of Tampa P, 1989) 59–84. Both productions starred David Strathairn as Stanley. The 1989 CSC production substituted Jean Stapleton for Georgine Hall as Meg and Bill Moor for Robert Gerringer as Petey; in both productions Peter Riegert played Goldberg, Richard Riehle played McCann, and Wendy Makkena played Lulu. According to Merritt's recorded and transcribed "conversation" with the director and cast members, when Pinter attended rehearsals of the second production, he added Goldberg's line "What a lovely flight of stairs" (61–62). In his May 2008 BBC Radio 4 extended interview with Rebecca Jones, excerpted on Today on 12 May 2008, Pinter remembers having done so for a production in "1999", but, according to Perloff in the November 1989 interview with Merritt, he originated the line for her production, which featured a functional staircase prominently in its set and action; Perloff observes: "in every Pinter play, upstairs is threatening ..." (63).
  25. ^ The Birthday Party (CSC), in "Plays", at, Harold Pinter, 2000–[2008], Web, 18 May 2008.
  26. ^ Jessica Santina, Party Crashers: The Birthday Party", Reno News and Review: Your Independent Alternative News and Entertainment Resource (Reno, Nevada), Arts & Culture: Theater, Chico Community Publishing, Inc., 26 July 2007, Web, 7 March 2009.
  27. ^ The Birthday Party, Stage Center Theatre, Northeastern Illinois University, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, Illinois, Fall 2006, Web, 9 May 2008. (Includes the Samuel French catalog's and the director's synopses of the play, production still photographs, and related information.)
  28. ^ "The Birthday Party" at Germinal Stage Denver, The Denver Post, Denver Post, "Calendar",, 10 May 2008, Web, 10 May 2008.
  29. ^ a b Jamie Andrews, "L'anniversaire". ("The Birthday Party"), Harold Pinter Archive Blog, British Library (BL), 3 March 2009, Web, 7 April 2009. (Performance rev.)

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