A: Harold Pinter Pf: 1971, London Pb: 1971 G: Drama in 2 acts S: Rural home, England, 1960s C: 1m, 2fKate lives in the country with her husband Deeley, whose work as a film-maker occasionally takes him from home. They are awaiting the arrival of Anna, who is married to a wealthy husband and who shared a flat with Kate when they were both secretaries in London. In fact, Anna is on stage from the start, and abruptly enters the conversation after her ‘arrival’. Deeley is threatened by Kate's relationship with Anna, and is further thrown off equilibrium by being strongly attracted to Anna. Kate reminisces about visits to the cinema and parties they attended. Sexual tension is increased when Anna describes how she witnessed Kate enduring an inept seduction in their flat. When Kate returns from a bath in a white bathrobe, Deeley and Anna compete with each other over the best way to dry her. Deeley now gives a totally different account of the seduction described by Anna. Kate remains silent, refusing to authenticate either version. Deeley counters by describing a meeting with Anna years previously, when he tried to look up her skirt. Deeley eventually begins to weep as he struggles to maintain his hold over Kate, while Kate intimates that she has never belonged to him or Anna.
A: Harold Pinter Pf: 1971, London Pb: 1971 G: Drama in 2 acts S: Rural home, England, 1960s C: 1m, 2f
This is the first full-length play by Pinter in which the action is clearly unreal, established by Anna's silent presence on stage at the start. She is perhaps always – or only – in the minds of the married couple; the play certainly has the atmosphere of a dream. The play explores memory, its inaccuracies, its inventions, and the way it permeates the present.