It is a cold, wintry twilight when Harold Pinterâ€™s The Room opens; soon it will be dark. That is the typical mood and setting of early Pinter. The Room was his very first play, produced originally in 1957. On the same bill at the Atlantic Theatre Company is Celebration, his latest play to be produced (2000), with a totally different setting and ambiance: a bright, chic London restaurant with well-dressed revelers. Does this conjunction of early and late work tell us something meaningful about Pinterâ€™s vision and the journey he has taken in his brilliant fifty-year theatre career?
Back in the late fifties, when he was spellbinding experimental theatregoers, the word most commonly used to describe his work was â€œmenace.â€ Pinter had a way of making the stage vibrate with mystery and menace in such early works as The Room, The Dumb Waiter, The Birthday Party, and The Caretaker.