Betrayal is an absorbing and intimate Harold Pinter play about three friends and their duplicitous relationships with one another over an eleven year period. The inspiration for the writing of the play came from Pinter's own personal experience. It is considered one of his best dramatic works. A notable highlight of the play is his use of an unconventional format in the structuring of the sequence of events.
The production begins with the end and ends with the beginning. Emotionally entangled in an extra-marital affair, Emma and Jerry meet at a pub two years after breaking off the adulterous affair that started 11 years earlier. During their meeting, Emma tells Jerry that her marriage to Robert was over; who is also a close friend of his with related careers. A revelation that would in due course uncover more betrayal.
The absorbing drama opened at the South of Broadway Theater on Thursday, February 13th. It was my first visit to the South of Broadway Theater and first experience with its seating in the round. The Harry Pinter production of Betrayal was the perfect introduction.
The Play's nine scenes were as open and as bare as the relationships of its characters. A window, a door, a chair, a couch, a changing table setting, and some necessary other props were all that were needed for transitioning from scene to scene. I was too absorbed with following the intimate exchanges between Emma, Jerry, and Robert to even notice the absence of walls and ceilings. Besides, walls were of no consequence because you, the audience, were endowed with the symbolic power of x-ray vision to peer through any such barriers directly into the characters private lives from all angles. Ultimately, in the end, all artifices had become stripped away.
The well-seasoned three person cast was exceptional. Kristen Kos portrayed a persuasive Emma. From the opening scene to the last, her body language, facial expressions, and voice inflections were convincingly realistic and captivating. Sitting in the audience as an observer, I at times felt the discomfort Emma was experiencing, especially the opening moments in the pub while she awaited Jerry's arrival. Equally convincing was Craig Trow's rendering of the anxious and totally-unaware-of-some-pertinent information Jerry and Larry Perewiznyk's depiction of the composed and not-so-in-the-dark Robert.
Afterward, I hung out with the crew and cast to discuss some of the finer points of the play and satisfy some of my more inquisitive questions--one of the benefits of community theater. Thank you South of Broadway for the delicious treats and celebratory champagne.
You now know the ending, which is the beginning, and the obvious beginning, which is the ending, but you still don't know how it all started. For that and everything in between, you will have to experience it for yourself. Betrayal will be playing February 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22 at the South of Broadway Theater and later in the month, beginning on February 27, it will have a two week run on the proscenium stage of the James F. Dean Theatre in Summerville. Purchase tickets here for South of Broadway and here for the James F. Dean Theatre.
Other notables are Jason Pallay; the waiter, Jean Gaston; stage manager, Angelique Cunningham; costume design, Janet Peck; lighting design, Mark Gorman; set design, Mary Gould; set decorator, and JC Conway; director.