Theater: Pinter Patter

The Dumbwaiter and The Collection, by Harold Pinter. England's Harold Pinter is a playwrighting terrorist who can conjure up menace with the easy authority of a Hitchcock. He can also pose Pirandellphic conundrums about the nature of truth and reality. Both Pinters are on view in these off-Broadway one-acters, though neither play possesses the emotional depth and prose poetry of The Caretaker, Pinter's last-season parable of the human situation.

In The Dumbwaiter, two men, Ben and Gus, loll on iron cots in a mottled green basement room and bandy naggingly repetitive small talk. It...

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