Harold Pinter: The Dumb Waiter (2561 words)


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Harold Pinter’s short play The Dumb Waiter premiered in London in 1960. It was the playwright’s fourth play and in many ways encapsulates his early absurdist style. The play is set in a claustrophobically small basement room in the midlands, with two beds, a serving hatch centre stage, and little other furniture. Two men, Ben and Gus, who we quickly establish are hit-men, are waiting in the room for instructions about their next assignment. They fill their time with mundane activities – reading the newspaper, smoking cigarettes and chatting about seemingly trivial matters. Although they appear to be alone in the building, their space is periodically and inexplicably invaded, by an envelope appearing under the door and then b…

Citation: Rees, Catherine. "The Dumb Waiter". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 February 2013 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=9244, accessed 03 August 2020.]

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