Harold Pinter's Betrayal

Hampden-Sydney College Fine Arts Department Presents Harold Pinter's Betrayal
  Betrayal Poster



February 23, 24; March 2,3, 2001

Johns Auditorium

8:00 pm


The Hampden-Sydney College Department of Fine Arts will present as this Spring's production, Harold Pinter's Betrayal. The play, a reverse chronology of a love affair, comes to Hampden-Sydney after recently having concluded a successful run on Broadway with the Roundabout Theatre Company.

Harold Pinter often utilizes understatements, tension-filled silences, and cryptic small talk to create a menace, a floating anxiety, which presides over his plays. Betrayal is no exception. Circular everyday speech, which seems little more than mundane blather, haunts the conscience with uneasy undertones. The result is a masterpiece. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Betrayal earned Pinter the 1980 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for best foreign play and a 1983 Academy Award nomination for best screenplay adaptation.

Intrigue blossoms from the inter-relationships between three main characters: Emma, Jerry, and Robert. We meet Emma and Jerry in 1977. They beautifully evade the obvious tension from the remnants of their seven-year extra-marital affair that ended in 1975. Emma reveals that her marriage to Robert is coming to an end. The truth is out. Now, a regression to the 1968 party that started the affair winds the audience through the tangled web of friendships and relationships that bind Jerry, Robert, and Emma's lives to each other. Thus, despite its sparse and simple language, the play becomes an in-depth exploration of deeply complex and elusive states of mind.

There are often fundamental yet hidden differences between what people say and what they mean. In the case of Emma, Jerry, and Robert, the themes of infidelity, dishonesty, and self-deception further muddle the conversation. Often, it seems they do not even want to understand each other. The result is both menace and humor, creating an unusually powerful piece of contemporary theatre.

The cast and staff for Betrayal include not only Hampden-Sydney students and faculty, but also members of the Hampden-Sydney and Longwood College communities. Set design and technical direction are by Matthew Dubroff, H-SC Fine Arts Department. Lighting design is by Stephen Sharpe, H-SC '02. Director Shirley Kagan is in her fourth year as a professor of theatre at Hampden-Sydney College. Her most recent credit is the Fall 2000 production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Betrayal will run Friday and Saturday, February 23 and 24, and Friday and Saturday, March 2 and 3, in Johns Auditorium at Hampden-Sydney. Admission: $3 General; $2 Faculty and Staff; FREE TO ALL STUDENTS For information / reservations call (804) 223-6266.