pinter plays: looking backwards
No Man's Land
The image is from the Sydney Theatre Company and Queensland Theatre Company production in 2011.
Betrayal, a love triangle played backwards, with nine scenes starting in 1977 then moving to 1975, 1974, 1973, 1971 and concluding in 1968 at the of the affair. Emma and Jerry have an affair, Jenny's husband Robert is Jerry's best friend. Billington notes the play was the first Pinter wrote after the break-up of his first marriage, and Pinter's extra-marital seven year affair with Joan Bakewell.
From Must You Go? by Antonia Fraser.
The poster of the Village Players production directed by Thrisa Hodits at the Black Box Theater, Chicago (click on the image for the source).
Billington writes that critics were hostile when the play opened, Billington's own premiere review called it "high-class soap-opera" but recently (The Guardian 17 Jun 2011) Billington says "Having rubbished Harold Pinter's Betrayal on its appearance in 1978, I seem to have spent much of my life discovering its complexities." Pinter did not write another full length play for more than a decade after Betrayal.
Charles Spenser in The Telegraph (10
Oct 2003) says "Like all great works of art, Betrayal seems to contain
myriad meanings. Watching this production... I was most struck by the
fact that the relationship between Robert and Jerry was in its way
stronger and more passionate than what either of them felt for Emma.
I once edited a video tape of the play so that it played in chronological order, to see if it remained a good play. It does.
The premiere was in the National Theatre in London on 15 Nov 1978 with Penelope Wilton, Michael Gambon and Daniel Massey and director Peter Hall (from Plays 4). As well as the three main players, there is a small role as a waiter. It runs for 90 minutes without interval, though Pinter does give the option of an interval after scene four. The film version from 1983 starred Patricia Hodge, Jeremy Irons and Ben Kingsley with director David Hugh Jones.
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