Theater: Finger Exercises in Dread

The Room and A Slight Ache. Harold Pinter's plays not only have plots; they often seem to be plots. He conspires to elude, delude, tease, frustrate, irritate, and mystify the audience, all of course to a highly salutary end. Pinter leads the playgoer very far from home to signify that something at the mysterious heart of human existence consists in being precisely there—very far from home. The Room and A Slight Ache are early Pinter one-acters of quasi-comic menace, not always dexterous but distinctly absorbing, the work of a man forming his own...

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