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Syracuse Stage kicks off 2002 with Harold Pinter’s ‘Betrayal’
Syracuse Stage kicks off 2002 with Harold Pinter’s ‘Betrayal’January 02, 2001Cynthia J. Moritzcjmoritz@syr.edu
Rehearsals have started for Syracuse Stage’s production of Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal,” which runs Jan. 16 to Feb. 3 and is directed by Kevin Moriarty. “Betrayal” is a tale of infidelity told in reverse. Who slept with whom is no longer in question, but rather who knew what and when. The unusual plot structure, with scenes traveling backwards in time, highlights the ambiguity of these relationships.
Harold Pinter is one of the best-known playwrights in the Western world, noted for his preoccupation with language and the famed “Pinter pause,” where what is left unsaid is often more important than what is spoken. His works include “The Dumb Waiter,” “The Birthday Party,” “The Caretaker,” “The Homecoming,” “Old Times,” “No Man’s Land,” “A Kind of Alaska,” “Moonlight” and “Celebration.” He adapted many of his plays for the screen, and wrote many successful screenplay adaptations of works other than his own, including “The Pumpkin Eater” (1964) and “The Last Tycoon” (1976).
Pinter was nominated for Academy Awards for the screenplays of “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” (1981) and “Betrayal”(1983). More recent screenplays include “Turtle Diary” (1985), “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Reunion” (both 1990), “The Comfort of Strangers” (1991) and “The Trial” (1994). He recently has been seen as an actor in “The Tailor of Panama” with Pierce Brosnan and as Mr. Bearing in the HBO production of “Wit.”
Moriarty directed “Wit” for Syracuse Stage last season. Artistic director of The Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, Moriarty directed “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” there last summer. On Broadway he was the resident director for “Jesus Christ Superstar” and was Michael Mayer’s assistant director for three years, including “Triumph of Love.”
Also returning to Syracuse Stage is actor Graham Winton, who will play Jerry, the lover and best friend. Winton was seen as Kaffe in Stage’s 1997 production of “A Few Good Men.” On Broadway he appeared in “The Tempest” and “Two Shakespearean Actors” and has appeared in numerous productions for the New York Shakespeare Festival.
The role of Robert, the betrayed husband and friend, will be handled by Mitchell Anderson, known for his portrayal of Ross on the Fox television series “Party Of Five” and as Dr. Jack McGuire on “Doogie Howser, M.D.” Anderson has played at regional theatres across the country and off-Broadway.
Deanne Lorette will play Emma, the young wife who embarks on an affair with her husband’s best friend. She comes to Syracuse Stage directly from Pioneer Theatre Company’s production of “Communicating Doors.” She has appeared in regional theatres across the country and in New York.
In keeping with Pinter’s pared down vision, a minimalist set will convey the complicated passage of time and different locales through the creative use of curtains, projections and lights. Matthew Maraffi (who designed last season’s “Wit”) will design the sets, working closely with costume designer Walker Hicklin to simply and effectively create varied locales and time periods.
Lighting the set will be designer A. Nelson Ruger, whose work was recently seen at Syracuse Stage for the production of “Brighton Beach Memoirs.” Jonathan Herter, Syracuse Stage’s resident sound designer, will conceive the sound for the show.
Originally written in 1978, “Betrayal” opened on Broadway in January 1980 with Blythe Danner, Roy Scheider and Raul Julia cast as Emma, Robert and Jerry. The 1982 movie version, for which Pinter was nominated for an Academy Award, starred Jeremy Irons, Ben Kingsley and Patricia Hodge. The New York Times noted that in “Betrayal” “Mr. Pinter has invested a well-worked formula with a gnawing, transforming sense of just how opaque people remain to one another. Each of the work’s nine scenes is a jewel of discreetly staggered revelations, in which it becomes apparent that everyone has lied to everyone else. The fascinating grip of “Betrayal” has much to do with how the characters register and disseminate such misinformation.” With Pinter’s characteristic terseness and intensity the familiar tangles of a love triangle stir up potentially unsettling truths lurking in the shadows.
Tickets are on sale at the Syracuse Stage Box Office at 443-3275 or online through www.syracusestage.org. Prices range from $15 to $38.