(images via Mile Square Theatre)
Running from March 30 through April 23, Hoboken’s Mile Square Theatre presents Betrayal, Harold Pinter’s darkly humorous and emotionally charged drama of marriage and infidelity—starring Matthew Lawler (ABC’s The Family), and Dena Tyler (CBS’s Bull), and Aidan Redmond (Broadway’s The Cripple of Inishmaan).
Robert (Lawler) and Jerry (Redmond) are best friends and partners in a publishing firm, but an affair between Emma (Robert’s wife, played by Tyler) and Jerry creates a tense world of deception and mistrust.
“Harold Pinter is one of the most important playwrights of the 20th Century,” says the play’s Director, Chris O’Connor. “I’ve always found his plays to be fascinating and extremely challenging, and at times, confounding. I’ve never had the chance to work on one before. While I was teaching at the University of Miami, I taught an advanced scene study class which included Pinter and I had my students work on scenes from Betrayal. The more I studied it, the more I wanted to direct it with professionals. MST company member Matthew Lawler is a great fit for the character of Robert, so I started there, and assembled the cast around Matt.”
“I play Robert,” says Lawler, “who is married to Emma and best friends with Jerry. Jerry and I have known each other since college and we are colleagues–he is a literary agent representing novelists and I publish novels. Jerry and Emma have been carrying on an affair for many years, and I find out about it.”
While the subject matter makes it seems like the kind of play that would make the audience squirm, it’s all about the delivery.
“Actually, the play is very funny. And sexy and provocative and dangerous. No children allowed,” cautions Lawler. “Mostly, I think audiences will find it very exciting piecing together the relationship of the characters and trying to figure out what they are thinking and feeling in any given moment. Mr. Pinter does not lay it all out there for you but the clues are there. And that’s true working on it as an actor. He doesn’t give you a lot of background, but enough. I love that. He respects the actors, and director and artists working on the play, and the audiences watching to fill in the gaps.”
Says O’Connor, “I think it’s a play that will speak to our audience at MST. These characters are very recognizable. To me, it’s [Pinter’s] most accessible play. It deals with truth, primarily, and when you have a story about infidelity, the players are always measuring their actions against truth or the appearance of truth. Pinter captures this dance so beautifully and with such detail and nuance. The subject matter is certainly heavy, but there is humor in it and it’s fascinating to watch this trio of characters navigate through the choices they’ve made. Pinter constructs the play so intelligently. For the most part, it’s told in reverse order, which is very cinematic, and there’s a great use of dramatic irony in the story telling. I think that it will work very well in our intimate theatre, which lends itself beautifully to plays that are rich in realism and have strong emotional content. People will also be really drawn in to a fascinating story and will be treated to some outstanding acting by three very accomplished actors.”
Lawler concurs, adding, “It has been a delight working with Aidan and Dena. They seemed to pick up rather early on that I am the diva in the cast so that has made things hum along nicely,” he jokes. “Honestly, they are terrific actors and great people and feel very privileged to perform this brilliant play at Mile Square. While all the characters are not entirely ‘likable’, I think it is safe to say that audiences will fall in love a little bit with Aidan and Dena.”
CLICK HERE for tickets to see the Mile Square Theatre’s production of:
March 30 – April 23
Thursday @ 7 • Friday @ 8pm
Saturday @ 2pm & 8pm • Sunday @ 3pm
Tickets: $30 • Students/Seniors: $18