ASHES TO ASHES. A man interrogates a woman about her lover and involvement in wartime atrocities. The woman is haunted by appalling memories: genocide, deportation, and most disturbingly, a tenderly recalled masochistic-erotic relationship with a modern Herod-like infanticide. In fact, she may never have experienced these things. (1 man, 1 woman.) MONOLOGUE. The speaker, called only Man, inhabits a shabby room and spends the play addressing another man who, it finally turns out, might be his brother. But the armchair the Man addresses is empty. Moreover, there are hints that he might be institutionalized. Talk of sport and literature gives way to reminiscences of romance. It emerges that the speaker loved a woman but that she transferred her favors to the invisible occupant of the chair. (1 man.) PARTY TIME. A suave power-broker is throwing a party at which his guests prattle of exclusive health clubs, idyllic island retreats and past romantic liaisons. Meanwhile in the streets outside there is violent disorder that is being savagely suppressed. (5 men, 4 women.) PRECISELY. This sketch reveals a conversation between two women working for the government who want to convince their country to engage in nuclear war. (2 men.) PRESS CONFERENCE. A Minister of Culture, formerly the head of the Secret Police, holds a press conference in this political sketch about a repressive regime. (1 man, various men/women.)
"…a shattering commentary on the continuity and contagion of abuse in human experience…compellingly alive." —NY Times. "ASHES TO ASHES contains both his most astonishing female role and his most difficult male role—[it] is the most completely 'Pinteresque' play he has ever written." —Evening Standard (London). "The Nobel Committee had ample reason to give the award to Mr. Pinter solely because of the quality of his work…Even Noël Coward was impressed by his ability to stir up profoundly unsettling emotions through the simplest of means." —Wall Street Journal.