Theater: Pas de Trois

The Lover, by Harold Pinter, and Play, by Samuel Beckett, are an off-Broadway pair of startlingly brief but beguilingly adroit one-acters. Each is like a ballet, a neatly executed pas de trois between husband, wife, and mistress. The dance is in the words and patterns, leaps of light or pirouettes of sensuality.

In The Lover, an Englishman who seems to be as tightly furled, emotionally, as his umbrella, asks his wife matter-of-factly, "Is your lover coming today?" Demure of dress, slightly abstracted of manner, she answers, "Mmnn." The husband thoughtfully agrees not to return before 6 p.m. He in turn reveals that...

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