I am sure you already know that Pinter was extremely political. Did you also know that Pinter was a feminist? Sometimes, the power belongs all 'The Man' in his plays. Other times, and often, it is the women in Pinter plays who hold the real power. In THE BIRTHDAY PARTY it seems, as we so frequently find in Pinter, it is BOTH.
This first week of rehearsals, we are not working any Goldberg and McCann. I think it's fair to say that the moment they enter, without knocking, by the backdoor, they have this world we're creating wrapped around their fingers. Their pointedly Jewish and Irish fingers I should add. It can't be for nothing that two such famously oppressed peoples are here, the oppressors. Don't you agree?
But for the moment, here in Act I, dotty Meg does not do as she's told, but exactly as she pleases. Unless, that is, it's a question of Stanley leaving.
Stanley: I feel like something cooked.
Meg: Well, I'm not going to give it to you.
Petey: Give it to him.
Meg: I'm not going to.
Stanley: Well, I can see I'll have to go down to one of those smart hotels on the front.
Meg: (rising quickly) You won't get a better breakfast there than here.
(She exits to kitchen. Stanley yawns broadly. Meg apprears at the hatch with a plate.)
Meg: Here you are. You'll like this.
And Lulu smilingly, flirtatiously, and without consequence, dresses down Stanley on sight. 'You could do with a shave...' 'Do you have to wear those glasses?' 'You depress me looking like that.'
Yet it is these two women who take to Goldberg and McCann immediately! But we'll learn more about that on Monday, as we near the party itself.