Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online

"The Basement"

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Pinter, Harold (English playwright, 1930- ), "The Basement,"

a area-stage comedy-drama set in a carefully furnished basement flat,


in Harold Pinter's Tea Party and The Basement, ISBN 0-8222-1115-7, DPS 4420, acting edition, script/rights available from Dramatists Play Service, Inc., 440 Park Avenue South, New York City, New York 10016, U.S.A., telephone 212-683-8960, fax 212-213-1539, Cited to present author by Allen L. Hubby via e-mail, March 20, 1997; the citation says,

Dramatis Personae fussy, spinsterish bachelor (m); bachelor's former roommate; a young girl with the former roommate (f)

Synopsis ". . . [A] fussy, spinsterish bachelor . . . [has his] carefully furnished basement flat . . . invaded late one night by his former roommate with a young girl in tow. Host is effusive in his welcome-to former roommate, that is. Girl and former roommate strip naked and get into bed, as host, terribly rattled, continues to chatter. (The chatter is absolutely fine.) The intruders move in permanently, and soon the host's old pictures and bits of sculpture are replaced by a huge, bright, modern abstract. And there are other innovations. As the action progresses, the roles of lover and leftover switch back and forth, and the girl, like the old bum in The Caretaker, tries to set the men against each other and succeeds. . . . There are scenes at a beach, in a cafe, and at a bogus deathbed, and there is a duel, which is fought on a dark stage with lighted broken bottles.'-Edith Oliver, The New Yorker.

Comment "In the end we are, it seems, back where we started. But not quite. We have seen, if only for a moment, the rather pathetic, trembling animals who lie beneath the veneer of the shaved, powdered exteriors, and we know that it is not relief that will come to them just continuation. A successful off-Broadway production (in tandem with 'Tea Party'), which offers a uniquely Pinteresque combination of bizarre humor and silken violence as it details a series of startling reversals on the eternal triangle theme. . . . '[T]he single, most stimulating playwright in the English-speaking theatre today.'-George Oppenheimer, Newsday. . . . '[E]xquisite theatre.'-Martin Gottfried, Women's Wear Daily. . . . '[F]ascinating to the point of audience hypnosis.'-Edith Oliver, The New Yorker. . . . Area staging."

Themes beach, cafe, deathbed, duel, manipulation, nudity, roommates, visitor.

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Page updated May 5, 1997, by the site Webmaster.

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Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online
complements the print volume

1/2/3/4 for the Show: A Guide to Small-Cast One-Act Plays

by Lewis W. Heniford

(Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1995), ISBN 0-8108-2985-1, $39.50, plus s/h
Scarecrow Press, 4720 Boston Way, Lanham, MD 20706
telephone 800-462-6420 or 301-459-3366, fax 800-338-4550 yellow beads