The pair pick at each other jumpily: "We've been through our tests, haven't we? In The Room a nondescript couple named Hudd have recently moved into a ramshackle single room. Hudd gabbles cheerfully about how cosy and secluded it is: "We don't bother anybody . Her husband stonily pores over a Classics Illustrated while she speaks to him. Kidd, their senile landlord, half-remembers that their apartment used to be his bedroom.Then a man and his wife looking for lodging threaten to rent the Hudds' room; and a blind Negro who had been living in the cellar asks Mrs.
The Theatre Company of Boston is closing out a financially harrowing season with a pair of stark one-acters by Harold Pinter.
Choosing such a fashionable playwright for its finale is almost reactionary by the standards of this audacious group, which has included several rarely seen plays among its avant garde offerings this year.
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This paper will focus on the aesthetic definition of the genre, more precisely on the simultaneousness of nonsense and menace in are indeed both clowns and oppressors and their use of physical comedy and whimsical language is as entertaining as it is unsettling, bringing to mind rather disquieting images of persecution and torture.
This simultaneousness will however be qualified in terms of production and audience response since the comic might prevail over the menace and vice versa, leaving it to the reader-spectator to decide what genre the plays belong to.While Pinter's characters chatter the same phrases over and over, his plays take on a futility that makes them funny and an expectancy that makes them suspenseful.The comic tone shuts off as a climax approaches, because in Pinter's drama a slow disinterment of inner tragedy creates the suspense.The two trade non sequiturs until somebody slides an envelope full of matches under the door--but there is no gas to make a fire. " At last Ben receives their instructions and the play rushes to a finish, knotted at the end with a violent twist.Their consternation grows when a dumbwaiter arrives from upstairs bearing an order for steaks, pudding, and tea. Director David Wheeler paces The Dumbwaiter very fast and packs a bit too much levity into it, so that transitions between ludicrousness and anxiety sometimes come off awkwardly.They soak up mundane sensory experience through a screen of simple-minded, petulant prejudices.These bleak puppets seek shelter in squalid, motionless routine.Instead of moving toward a comforting resolution, Pinter's plays develop by shedding obscurities until emotions and paradoxes in a situation are uncovered.Carefully Pinter scrapes away the aimless talk and blank expressions that coat real feelings.First used by the theatre critic Irving Wardle in a 1958 article, the expression comedy of menace has become a catch-all phrase systematically applied to Harold Pinter’s plays.Yet Wardle has offered a specific thematic and aesthetic definition of the genre based on the motif of the malevolent intrusion as well as on the paradoxical combination of comedy and menace.