Iago can spread lies like mayonnaise.
Though Betrayal was written by the late English dramatist Harold Pinter, William Shakespeare, the other famous English playwright, share a connection of revealing human foibles and making them appear normal in a strange way. Shakespeare’s Othello serves as a side dish to Pinter’s main meal of Betrayal. Pinter took a grand chance in telling his story in chronological order going backwards. Probably where director Quentin Tarantino got that idea for his 1994 hit Pulp Fiction. The play begins in 1977 when former lovers Emma (Liza Seneca) and Jerry (Adam J. Smith) meet after their two-year break up. For over five years, the two carried a secret and torrid affair in a non-disclosed apartment with huge complications. Emma is now in an affair with Casey, Jerry’s agent and Robert’s (Emma’s husband) publisher. She discovered that Robert has had multiple affairs over the years and admits to Robert that she and Jerry also had an affair. It’s hard to keep up but eventually the story unravels and exposes more surprises. Not any of them pretty.
They chat up for a moment being careful on what is said. Things don’t get too personal at first. The songs in the background “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” and “You Light Up My Life” gives you an idea on the current status of their relationship now. They are both married other people and reminisce about their times in the apartment they once shared. From there, time moves backwards. Jerry meets with Robert to talk about his affair with Emma. The bond that Emma and Jerry shared slowly deteriorates. And soon, we see how Jerry and Emma meet in Emma and Robert’s home. Jerry meets Emma in her bedroom and introduces himself as Robert’s best man, who’s in love with his wife. You will probably need to take some Tylenol to keep up with this twisted and hysterical scenario. Othello (William DeMeritt shows up killing the role) is terribly irate about discovering his wife Desdemona (Seneca in a dual role) illicit affair with the handsome solider Cassio (Luke McClure does an amazing job).
Like Emma and Jerry, Othello and Desdemona go backward in time, somehow, clarifying their own situation. Much love goes to Seneca, for adapting The Betrayal and Othello into a cunning and smart story. She quickly saw the correlation between these two phenomenal writers and created an original piece of work that should be required reading for college and acting students. All of the actors play two roles, one from Pinter and the other from The Bard. God bless them for their great talent. Director Elizabeth Swain does a wonderful job in executing both stories and merging them into one.
An Evening of Betrayal plays Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 PM and ends Sunday, June 24th at 2 PM at Theatre 68 located at 5112 Lankershim in North Hollywood. For ticket information, log on to www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3415884 or www.The6thAct.com