Directed by Elizabeth Swain
Betrayal written by Harold Pinter and Othello written by William Shakespeare
What a masterful idea. To take two such iconic and powerful plays and perform them together, with the same cast, back to back and also…fascinatingly enough….in reverse.
Confused? You would think so wouldn’t you? But actually, it makes such perfect sense. Particularly with "Othello," which was mercifully shortened. It is brilliant, but it is also a very long play. But if we already know the outcome, which of course we do, unless you are from another planet, then isn’t the journey all the more interesting when we see the line drawn so clearly in reverse?
We are all so much the wiser when the journey is behinds us. It’s far easier to see where we took the wrong turn, who we took on faith when every indication was clear that we should not, and how things fell apart. We can examine our own disasters inch by inch, moment by moment when we lie alone in the darkness…and we all do. And this is precisely why this remarkable production works so brilliantly. Because instead of watching a plot unfurl, by beginning at the end, we can examine so much more closely the ‘why.’ The ‘why’ of how each character relates to one another, the ‘why’ of who chooses which path and the ‘why’ of how on earth they didn’t see what was right before their eyes.
"Betrayal" - Cast Liza Seneca and William DeMeritt
Harold Pinter is an English god of a writer, and I was a little nervous considering we are in LA and everyone speaks "American." However, the actors were absolutely breathtaking in their Britishness. Pinter simply cannot be done without the accent. Apparently, their fabulous English director, Elizabeth Swain, is quite the taskmaster, to great effect. I actually had to ask at intermission if they were really English! Don’t tell the Queen.
"Betrayal" is a brilliant revelatory play. So in reverse, the revelations are delightfully twisted around and we discover more ‘whys’…fascinating. I think I will begin to re-read all the plays in my library but in reverse.
This is a brilliant production, I have already recommended it to several friends. The performances are excellent and the fierceness of the relationships between each character is a beauty to behold.
This is a very short run, but well worth your time, so please, don’t dawdle. Pinter is a rarity in LA so take the opportunity to get in touch with your British roots and learn to speak English!!!
Runs through June 24. TICKETS>>
WILLIAM DeMERITT – “Robert in Betrayal/ Othello in Othello”
ADAM J. SMITH– “Jerry in Betrayal/ lago in Othello”
LUKE McCLURE– “Waiter in Betrayal/ Cassio & Emilia in Othello”
LIZA SENECA – “Emma in Betrayal/ Desdemona & Bianca in Othello”