Have you ever been deceived by someone you loved and trusted – or have you yourself been the deceiver?
In Falcon Theatre’s production of Betrayal by Harold Pinter, we learn that things can be more complicated in relationships than they would at first appear. It’s easy to guess why Falcon chose to produce Betrayal this season: 2020 gave us a revival of the script on Broadway featuring some notable film and television stars and Pinter is considered one of the most influential modern dramatists. This play tells us about Emma who has had an affair with her husband’s oldest friend, Jerry. Spoiler alert: that is not the only transgression to occur which makes the title of the play fitting. It is Director Becca Howell who embraces this complicated undertaking.
The running time of the play is on the shorter side and it seems an odd choice to add an intermission. Given the fact that scene changes take an awfully long time, the assumption could be the changes between the final scene before the intermission and the first scene after need extra care and an intermission was the solution. A simpler, less complicated set might have done the trick; but kudos to Ms. Howell for good music choices during said scene changes. Further, it is unclear as to whether it is the Lighting Design by Ted J. Weil or the Lighting Execution by Liz Apollonio which goes awry. There are times very little of an actor is visible as they travel down to the apron of the stage.
Without a doubt, Aaron Whitehead as Robert is the highlight of this production. His dialect is spot on, his emotional range is solid, and scenes with him are automatically filled with more energy. Mr. Whitehead is obviously an astute actor and very watchable. (I wanted to say “likable”, but given the lack of redeemable characteristics in these roles, that would not be honest.) Casting is strong across the board and affectionate moments benefit from the expertise of Intimacy Coach Torie Wiggins.
It is important to note that this story, for the most part, is told in reverse. In certain scenes, it is more than evident, but it is something to keep in mind as you watch the action unfold in front of you. It should also be noted that this is a period piece taking place in the 1970s (trust me, there are some happenings that will make you gasp if you don’t remember that). But regardless of the difference in era, relationships are complicated and the nature of certain conflict is timeless. This might just be the key to understanding and appreciating Betrayal.