Sunday, July 5, 2009

Betrayal by Harold Pinter

A short two acts full of the requisite Pinter pauses, banal dialogue, and 1970's chic. The characters are inherently British and somehow, their affair seems distinctly British. The basic plot is as follows: Jerry has an affair with his best friend Robert's wife, Emma for seven years. In my mind, the most interesting feature of the play is its story structure which begins at the end and goes backwards. Pinter is almost overly specific regarding time and location. I wonder how this is interpreted/communicated in production. Though mostly realistic in styling, Pinter borders on absurdity with exchanges like the following:

Jerry: Is he the one who's always been here or is it his son?
Robert: You mean has his son always been here?
Jerry: No, is he his son? I mean, is he the son of the one who's always been here?
Robert: No, he's his father.
Jerry: Ah. Is he?

Overall, an easy read, not necessarily a standout in dramatic literature but one can see why Pinter is iconic. Certainly, the exchanges of dialogue are interesting exercises in subtext, which Pinter seems to feed on.

No comments: