Betrayal by Harold Pinter
Reflections by GVPTA blogger Keara Barnes
Betrayal. It is the central theme in Pinter’s play, present in a multitude of ways: betrayal to one’s partner, one’s lover, one’s family, one’s self. I believe it is also subjective. Is it considered betrayal if the betrayer feels no guilt? If you, yourself, while betraying someone, are in turn being betrayed by said person? What about betraying someone with their full knowledge and awareness? Perhaps ultimately, judgement lies in the eyes of the individual, the circumstance, the relationship. Whatever the case may be, Ensemble Theatre Company’s production shines a spotlight on the subject, on a closely intertwined threesome, hell bent on being united in their unfaithfulness.
Emma, married to Robert, is having a seven year long affair with Jerry, who is married to Judith. Robert and Jerry are best friends. Robert has known about the affair for four years. Robert is also having various affairs. The act of betrayal is prevalent in every relationship presented. It is transfixing to watch each character battle their own morality and disregard their conscience. The present of guilt enters into the equation at times, yet is strangely absent at others.
Time is a beautifully utilized concept in ETC’s production, initially seen in the script’s structure of going from present to past, journeying back in time to the beginning of Emma and Jerry’s affair. Moreover, the set is configured like a clock, a theatre in the round set up whereby audiences observe scenes at evenly spaced out marks in a circle. Centre stage, a steady stream of sand pours into a glass beaker. The production design is evoking, dark and intimate, much like the play itself, and the 70 uninterrupted minutes sneak by quickly like lovers in the night.
plays at the Jericho Arts Centre until August 19 as part of Ensemble Theatre Company’s 4th
annual Repertory Festival. Tickets and information through ensembletheatrecompany.ca