REVIEW: Mile Square Theatre’s BETRAYAL — Great Writing Meets Great Acting
by Margaretha Heidel
How can a lie last as long as it did without being revealed? Who’s to say exactly when it was revealed? Wait a minute, didn’t he? Wasn’t she the one who said…? Who isn’t being betrayed here anyway? Is it really that easy to betray someone over and over or does it just get easier as you practice?
You get the idea. Pinter. Master memory writer, amazing play—and for those of us on this side of the Hudson, this theatre and its terrific cast are right here in our “backyard,” (the backyard we’ve always wanted), at Hoboken’s Mile Square Theatre.
Take stock in your entertainment these days—lots of TV, a movie or two, some stars you like to follow… but when was the last time you saw something that begged you to take some time afterward and really think and question (in this case) what makes a relationship? How complicated is love and friendship and in this case, how they mix?
These thought provoking questions may prompt some real drinking of your own after watching Emma, Jerry and Robert knocking them back at well thought out segments of their life together. The story unfolds backwards, starting at the present and rewinding to the very beginning, a fine ending indeed. This is where the memory writer comes in and the questions will come to you. You will think about memories and parts of your own life as well. It’s interesting what is remembered and what is forgotten.
MST’s production of Betrayal supports Pinter’s true intentions with this piece and is the perfect type of play for their intimate space at 1400 Clinton. Dena Tyler captures the audience with her perfectly balanced torment (anguish, pain) and real beauty. One can’t help but be swept into the taught emotion that travels between Jerry (the excellent Aidan Redmond) and Emma. Their chemistry is magnetic and the two are so suitable for each other you find yourself thinking whatever has she been doing with Mathew Lawler’s well positioned Robert all these years? Jerry is so sophisticated and suave, the perfect literary agent if you ever were to imagine one, while Robert is almost bombastic, throwing his weight around flaunting his abuse of his wife in one scene, and generally doing his own thing. But then he and Jerry are Best Friends. For heaven’s sake, Jerry stood up for them at their wedding!
I won’t give any more away.
Pinter, an award-winning playwright of the highest caliber, does not disappoint as this memory play unfolds beautifully-as anyone’s memory of what happened usually does; mixing certain random thoughts that stick out (He threw her up in the air, but in whose kitchen?) with times in which exact things can be remembered verbatim. With seasons, and places you’ve been to a hundred times or maybe just once. It’s about aprons and tablecloths and talking about the kids. All of it boils down to Emma’s pain. The men around her can work anything out with a squash game, a pint and lunch in that order.
In the end, brilliantly, we see the beginning, and we see the first betrayal of many.
MST’s production puts these three fine actors at center stage of Betrayal. It’s not about the set or the lighting or really anything else except what is said. Truly a wonderful night out.
Tickets are available at www.milesquaretheatre.org until April 23rd.