The Dumb Waiter



  • A one-act play for two characters by Harold Pinter.It was first performed, as part of a double bill with The Room,in 1960 at the Hampstead Theatre Club in London. Both works latertransferred to the Royal Court Theatre.

    Set in a basement room in Birmingham, the play concerns twohit men, Gus and Ben, who are waiting for orders. They pass the time with tense small talk about how they will handle the assignment. An envelopeis slid under the door but it is empty. The dumb waiter (service lift)descends bearing orders for a meal that the two men cannot supply.Gus uses a speaking tube to apologize to the unknown man upstairs.

    Ben finally receives instructions on the tube, but Gus hasgone outside for a glass of water. When Gus returns he has been strippedof his jacket, waistcoat, and revolver; the two men stare at each other for a long time in silence as the curtain falls. The implication is thatGus is the target.