What Are Pinter Plays?

Harold Pinter’s Pinter plays are a collection of plays written the British playwright Harold Pinter between 1957 and 2000. His plays are known for their theatrical pauses, which often signaled danger, a technique that has become known as Pinteresque in the English language. All of his plays have dialogue that suggests a threat, but the characters act in ways that suggest otherwise. Harold Pinter wrote 29 stage plays, 27 screen plays, a number of dramatic sketches, and radio and television productions during his 50-year writing and directing career. He is best known for constructing his plays in three different styles: comedy of menace, memory plays, and political plays.

Harold Pinter’s career as a playwright was primarily focused on comedies of terror between 1957 and 1968. On the surface, the situation in these Pinter plays appears normal and harmless; however, as the play progresses, the audience realizes that the situation is incongruous. Despite the absurdity of the situation, the characters behave in a way that is difficult to comprehend for the other characters and the audience. The Room and The Birthday Party are two of his most well-known plays from this time period. The Birthday Party is one of Pinter’s most well-known plays, but it received mixed reviews.

After 1968, Pinter became interested in a different type of play in which a character reflects on past events from the present. Memory play is the name for this type of game. Pinter’s plays include Betrayal and Ashes to Ashes, and there are approximately 14 of them. In these Pinter plays, the characters reflect on conflicting thoughts and emotions surrounding a specific event. The situations are presented in a contrasting humorous and sorrowful manner, as in all Pinter plays.

As Pinter became more involved in politics, he became more interested in writing plays about political events. Between 1980 and 2000, he focused his life on these political plays, which were shorter in length. The Hothouse and Celebration, for example, were plays about social injustice and political power abuses. Through the dialogue between the characters in his political plays, he explored ideas of oppression and persecution. The discussions remained lighthearted while delving into serious issues such as the abuses perpetrated the privileged on the less fortunate in society.