's husband in Pinter
's play The Birthday Party
. He works on the local beach
, staking deck-chairs. Uniquely in the play, he is not spectacularly stupid
, does not suffer a mental breakdown
, and nor is he a fake
. The smallest
part in the play, he is also the character with whom it is easiest to sympathise. Beleagured by Meg
, suffocated by Stanley
's insufferable and stifling personality and not gullible
enough to be 'liked' by Goldberg
, he sees everything more for what is is than anyone else in the play. Pinter
say he speaks his most important line in any of his plays, when in Act 3 he shouts to the departing Stanley
; 'Don't let them tell you what to do, Stan!'.
Crucially, Petey goes out ; he gardens vigourously, showing Goldberg his peas and going out for a chess night instead of staying in for the party. He does not tell Meg the Stanley has gone at the end of Act 3, but movingly tells her to 'Let him sleep, just this once.' My favourite character in the play, but it was hard to direct Petey, a man in his sixties with a seventeen year-old actor. his world-weariness and long-suffering nature were difficult to capture and necessitated extensive work.