1997-1998

BETRAYAL by Harold Pinter

First produced at the National Theatre in London in 1978, BETRAYAL was a popular success on both sides of the Atlantic. It won, in New York, the Drama Critics Circle Award as best foreign play and, in London, the West End Award as best play of the season. It was filmed in 1983 with Ben Kingsley, Jeremy Irons and Patricia Hodge. BETRAYAL tells the story of Emma’s love affair with her husband’s best friend Jerry. Despite their efforts to hide the romance, it turns out that husband Robert knew about it all along. Unlike many Pinter plays we are given all the necessary information to understand the plot and the behaviour of the characters. There is nothing mysterious or confusing about the situation. The unusual thing about the play is that it moves mostly backwards in time, beginning at the end—the affair is over, the marriage breaking up—and ends at the beginning when Jerry first declares his love to Emma. The effect is both comic and tragic. As the title suggests, the subject of the play in betrayal. More specifically, it is the layers of betrayal the author is interested in: the lies which hide lies and make other lies necessary. Each of the characters betrays and is betrayed. Although Pinter can hardly be called a moralist, he has written a play about how betrayal can infect and sour the whole fabric of human relationships.

 

BETRAYAL

The English Theatre of Hamburg e.V. is a private, professional theatre, the first to be founded in the whole of Germany.

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