Meg and Petey live in a small seaside boarding house with their boarder, a strange chap named Stanley. Two strangers, a sleek man named Goldberg and his musclebound henchman McCann, arrive unexpectedly. Meg naively accommodates them with a room, and decides to arrange a birthday party for Stanley. At the party, Goldberg and McCann play cruel games with the boarder, breaking his glasses, making a buffoon of him and ultimately pushing him over the psychotic precipice. The next morning, Stanley, reduced to a gibbering idiot, meekly leaves with the two men.
The Birthday Party premiered at the Arts Theatre in Cambridge, England, on April 28, 1958. The play made its Broadway debut at Booth Theatre on October 3, 1967.