The Lover

Short Play, Drama  /  1w, 2m

Another London and off-Broadway success by one of the theatre's most inventive and versatile writers, Harold Pinter's The Lover is a subtle blending of artful nuance, veiled menace and sly humor.

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    1w, 2m
  • Duration
    60 minutes (1 hour)
  • Audience
    Target Audience


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.
RICHARD - middle thirties
SARAH - middle thirties
  • Time Period Contemporary
  • Setting A detached house near Windsor in summertime. The present.
  • Features Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes
  • Additional Features No intermission
  • Duration 60 minutes (1 hour)
  • Cautions
    • Alcohol
    • Intense Adult Themes
    • Nudity/Partial Nudity


“Mr. Pinter's play is a brilliantly seasoned use of theatricality.” – The New York Times

“A bizarre theatrical evening.” – New York Post

“[An] inward spiraling journey into these characters’ lives... the intricate details of Pinter’s dialogue, wherein the slightest, seemingly casual word choice can land like a bomb and cause hurt or laughter. This is the kind of play that you feel the need to see again as soon as it ends, to spiral back out and recontextualize everything you saw before.” – DC Theatre Scene

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Harold Pinter

Harold Pinter (1930-2008) was born in London on October 10, 1930. He lived with Antonia Fraser from 1975 until his death on Christmas Eve 2008. (They were married in 1980).

After studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and the Central School of Speech and Drama, he worke ...

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