By Harold Pinter
New York: Grove Press, Inc., 1981 (25th printing)
ISBN # 0-394-17232-9
26 pages

Comments by Bob Corbett
July 2012

Darkness, cold, mystery, sanity? All these hang over this very short play. Rose and Bert Hudd, in their early 50s, live in a single room in a nearly empty rooming house. Their room is simple, but decent, featuring a wood burning stove on a very cold day. Rose prattles on about breakfast and this and that, he never talks. Eventually he goes out, on some driving errand. It is near dark, very cold and icy.

The old landlord comes in; heís virtually senile and doesnít hear well. He and Rose chatter, but eventually he goes out. Soon a young couple turns up on the stairs. They are looking for a room, and seemingly met someone who lives in the basement who told them there was a room to rent. After a bit of fairly meaningless chatter they leave.

Old Mr. Kidd, the landlord, goes to the basement where there is a man who wants to see Rose. Eventually he comes to her apartment. He is a blind Negro, and gives Rose a very strange message that her father wants her to come home. Soon Bert returns and beats, perhaps even kills the Negro. And seemingly life then goes on????

Ah what to make of it all. Very little that I could discern. However, Pinter is able to give me goose bumps when I canít even figure out what is going on. He creates a feeling, a sense of darkness, cold, madness, incomprehension, all set in a very simply underclass rooming house.

Pinter creates a strange feeling in me. Something is going on; he just reports. No one seems to know whatís happening, but itís just all going on. Very odd read; very odd feelings.

I must admit, Iím not likely to return anytime soon to a Pinter work.

Bob Corbett


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