by Harold Pinter
Directed by Claude Mouriéras


18 September 24 October 2013



2013-09-18 00:00:00 2013-10-24 00:00:00

In their house by the seaside, the couple Meg and Petey wait hand and foot on Stanley, their only boarder. The fanciful Meg is especially doting, organising, with maternal tenderness, the birthday party of the enigmatic young man.

Two other boarders arrive that day, Goldberg and McCann, characters with sinister intentions who have suddenly emerged from Stanley’s mysterious past. The underlying violence of these new guests’ antics soon threatens to make the party veer into a macabre game, in the confined setting of the modest boarding house.

Harold Pinter, the author
Harold Pinter (1930-2008) began his career in London as an actor before turning to directing. Although a short-story writer and poet, it was writing for the theatre and cinema that made him famous. The Birthday Party ( 1958), his second play, written at the height of the theatre revival in England, is already characteristic of his style, referred to as a “comedy of menace”. The intrusion of latent aggression into the mundane situations of everyday life, expressed in innocuous dialogues that also bring to mind the theatre of the absurd, creates an unsettling tension. Despite the incomprehension of the critics when The Birthday Party was premiered, the reception given to The Caretaker (1960) and The Homecoming (1965) ensured their author an international success. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005.

Claude Mouriéras, the diretor
After directing the film adaptation of The Break of Noon in 2009 and a television drama for the Comédiens-Français (Fini la comédie!, 2012), the film and documentary maker Claude Mouriéras continues his collaboration with the troupe by taking on a text through a theatrical staging, here influenced by Hitchcockian images from Vertigo or Rear Window, which came to him when reading The Birthday Party, a “claustrophobic drama of dizzying force”. The intrusion of the outside world leads to a transposition of the plot to the 1990s – the years of Pinter’s political commitment. In this New York apartment, the threat is also internal, perverse. A trap closes on a man perniciously and inexplicably. Fascinated by the “symbolic and paradoxical darkness” of this Birthday Party, Claude Mouriéras blurs the boundaries between maliciousness, comedy and poetry.

Creative team

Translation****: Éric Kahane
Staging****: Claude Mouriéras
Staging assistant****: Renaud Durville
Scenography and lights****: Yves Bernard
Costumes****: Coralie Sanvoisin
Assistant****: Lucie Guillemet
Sound****: Roman Dymny


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En raison du renforcement des mesures de sécurité dans le cadre du plan Vigipirate « Sécurité renforcée - risque attentat », nous vous demandons de vous présenter 30 minutes avant le début de la représentation afin de faciliter le contrôle.

Nous vous rappelons également qu’un seul sac (de type sac à main, petit sac à dos) par personne est admis dans l’enceinte des trois théâtres de la Comédie-Française. Tout spectateur se présentant muni d’autres sacs (sac de courses, bagage) ou objets encombrants, se verra interdire l’entrée des bâtiments.