13) "The Hothouse" by Harold Pinter

An asylum drama that almost forgets to populate its world with patients, from one of Britain's preeminent playwrights. Written at the very beginning of Pinter's career, and then shelved until he decided to stage it virtually unchanged two decades later, this play partakes in the long tradition of linking the structures of institutionalized mental health treatment with the conventions of farce. Apart from some looming, haunted-house presences, we see nothing of the patients, and the drama dwells instead on the ludicrous, power-mad, and barely sane conversational struggles of the "rest home's" staff. This is careerism as torture.

The Hothouse
Harold Pinter
written 1958, first staged 1980
March 4, 2008

[I am a bit behind on my reviewing, so I am hoping to catch up with a series of abbreviated reviews, of which this is the first.]