This book, published in 2001 around the time of the playwright's 70th birthday and a bit of a retrospective, contains two plays by Harold Pinter. The first is "Celebration", first presented in 2000, and the second is Pinter's first play "The Room", dating from 1957.
The comedy "Celebration" comes as a bit of a change of pace after the very intense "political" plays Pinter wrote from 1985 to the turn of the millennium. Riotously funny, it is set in "the best restaurant in Europe" with the stage divided into two tables. At one, Lambert and his brother Matt dined with their wives, Julie and her sister Prue, celebrating the anniversary of Julie and Lambert. At the second table, Suki chats with his wife Russell. As the play progresses, the characters get progressively more drunk, make appalling revelations without realizing it, divulge their infidelities, and yet stay oddly content and glad-hearted. Among the tables roam Richard and Sonia, the owners, and a hilarious intrusive waiter. It has been a long time since I read a Pinter play that made me laugh out loud (unless it was the laugh of shock and outrage at revelations in his political works), and enjoyed "Celebration" immensely.
"The Room" was written when Pinter was still squarely in the genre of theatre of the absurd. Rose, a sixty-something housewife, muses about who's living in the basement flat of her building, talks incessantly to her taciturn husband, and encounters a young couple interested in the room to let. At the end of the play Riley, a "blind negro" enters and brings a surprising message to Rose, resulting in the play's shocking ending. While I found the ending compelling, most of the play is fairly tedious; the very length of the play is a mark of the young writer's immaturity, since mature Pinter is quite compressed. Still, worth checking out as the beginning of a very entertaining career.