Game-Playing Some characteristics of game-playing in TBP • The presence of a location and its effects on the game and its players. • The ability for objects within the locationto change and be used in the game. • Rules governing game playing—such as position—in response to the decisions made by the player. • Rewards and punishments resulting from changes to the state of the game. • Ability to strategise in the game
Game-Playing in TBP seen in • Blind-Man’s Buff • Musical chair game • Sexual games • Riddles • Songs during games • Cross-talk routines
Purpose of Game-Playing • Game-playing may seem innocent on the surface but is actually highly dangerous. In the darkness during the game of Blind man’s buff, Stanley is attacked and forced to the ground and this idea of attacking during game playing is emphasised in this extract when Lulu is molested by Goldberg as seen in the line ‘Goldberg fondles Lulu at arm’s length’
The dramatisation of a group of actors on stage giggling and catching hold of each other, makes audience question the insanity of game-playing like little children. The incongruity of adults playing children’s game is highlighted. A game for children is used by adults to pass the time and do away with boredom. The idea that adults are not intelligent enough to talk to each other and instead resort to childish games show audience the inability of adults to plan for their own entertainment
Games provide the perfect opportunity for people to jostle and dominate each other during game-playing. Goldberg demonstrates his power over Stanley by making Stanley play a game while in the midst of fighting for his life. Goldberg uses his voice to prod Stanley into playing the game as seen in this line: • Goldberg: Stanley-Stanley! The exclamation mark denotes Goldberg’s rising pitch and commanding tone to make Stanley play the game.
4. The game of Blind man’s buff is used as a metaphorical device to show the blindness of ordinary people to exhibitions of terror and torment. The women, Meg and Lulu think it is an ordinary game but the two tormentors plan to continue their interrogation of Stanley under the guise of game playing. McCann draws near Stanley at a later part of this game and purposely trips him right under the unsuspecting noses of the ordinary game-players. Just like how the players are blinded by a cloth covering; so too are Lulu and Meg blinded by the charm of the two tormentors and they are thus unable to help Stanley.
Pinter uses game-playing to show patriarchal structures in soceity. Women initiate the game-playing but men change the rules right under the noses of women. Meg and Lulu seem to know the rules of the game and actively come up with the machinations to make the game-playing possible. However, by the end of the scene, the men adroitly take command of the ladies’ game for their own dark purposes as seen in Goldberg sneakily getting Meg to prod Stanley into playing the game, and much later in the scene, deliberately making Stanley fall over a drum. McCann too uses the opportunity for another stab at intimidating Stanley as seen in the stage-directions of McCann rising quickly when Stanley rises as if trying to cage in Stanley. Pinter seems to suggest through game-playing that when women try to get into creative game-playing, the men will somehow come in to change this creative project into something nasty and torturous.