Richard and Sarah have created fictional lovers, Max and Sarah. They indulge in erotic wish fulfilment and thus keep the marriage refreshed. Then Richard begins to upset the status quo by refusing to allow the distinct halves of their relationship to remain separate. The afternoons have been for Max, the evenings for Richard. This evening, Max encroaches on Richard's preserve.
The Lover originally premiered in a 60-minute TV production on
ITV on 28 March 1963. Directed by Joan Kemp-Welch, the production
starred Alan Badel, Vivien Merchant and Michael Forrest. The stage
adaptation opened in London at the Arts Theatre on 18 September 1963 as
part of a double bill with Pinter's play The Dwarfs. Directed
by the author, the production starred Scott Forbes, with Vivien Merchant
and Michael Forrest reprising their roles from the television
broadcast. In January 1964, The Lover premiered off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre, in a double bill with Samuel Beckett's Play. Directed by Alan Schneider, the production featured Michael Lipton, Hilda Brawner and Charles Kindl.