Writing and journalism teachers tell their students to begin the writing process using subjects they know. Renowned playwright Harold Pinter knew very well his subject when he wrote his play, BETRAYAL.
Langhorne Players is about to present Pinter’s play, BETRAYAL, at their intimate air-conditioned theatre tucked away inside the historic Spring Garden Mill on the west bank of the Neshaminy Creek on Rt. 332 between Richboro and Newtown. It is just the kind of play that Langhorne Players likes to offer. It has a small cast; it is different; it is unusual; it is thought-provoking; people will talk about it.
Drawing from experience, while he was married to actress Vivien Merchant, Pinter had an affair with television personality Joan Bakewell, who was married at the time to producer/director Michael Bakewell.
But, one betrayal must not have been enough because Pinter later engaged in a long-running affair with another woman, Antonia Fraser, whom he later married in 1980 after divorcing Merchant, and remained married to Fraser until his death in 2008.
It might be tempting to re-title this play “Infidelity,” but that would fall far short of its intent. This is more than the story of a woman having an affair with her husband’s best friend. It’s the story of a woman in love with two men, and how all three struggle to find and keep their love and friendship, the words they use to express their desires, and how those very words often betray them.
Movie critic Roger Ebert, in his review of the 1983 film based on Pinter’s own screenplay, observed, “BETRAYAL structure strips away all artifice. It shows, heartlessly, that the very capacity for love itself is sometimes based on betraying not only other loved ones, but even ourselves.”
In this play, Pinter uses a very unusual and innovative reverse chronology to structure the plot. This story of three people and their infidelity begins in 1977 when the actors are about 40 years old and ends in 1968 when the betrayals began, so the actors need to gradually age in reverse.
Directing this production is Carol Thompson who holds a degree in theatre from the University of Wisconsin, where she once worked on scenes from this very play, before receiving her master’s degree in counseling psychology. “It was a combination of studies that has been very helpful in directing,” Thompson said.
“The play is fascinating to work on,” Thompson stated. “Fortunately, we found these four remarkable actors who are just right to accomplish the play’s goal!” she said.
Assisting her with direction and set design is her husband and locally well-known actor, George Hartpence.
Sarah Stryker, of Princeton, trained at Stella Adler School of Acting and Dell’Arte International. She most recently worked with the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre in their spring repertory season, and before that received a Kelsey Award for best actress in “The Winter’s Tale” with “Shakespeare ’70.” Stryker portrays Emma, a woman who loves two men.
Brian Kelly of Doylestown, plays the role of Emma’s husband, Robert. Kelly, who studied at the North Carolina School of the Arts, has worked professionally in New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles and brings years of experience and accolades. He recently appeared in “August, Osage County” at Town & Country Players and last appeared at Langhorne Players in “Mauritius.”
Frank Falisi, of Freehold, NJ, portrays Jerry, Robert’s best friend and the other man in Emma’s life. Falisi also brings experience to his role playing major roles in “Assassins,” “Young Frankenstein, “The Producers,” and many more plays in theaters throughout the area.
Playing the brief role of the waiter is Marco Newton, of Yardley, making his first appearance at Langhorne Players. Newton has been in over 100 local shows, most often at Actors’ Net in Morrisville.
BETRAYAL opens Friday, July 15 with a wine and cheese gala and continues July 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27,28, 29, and 30. Weeknights are at 7:30. Weekends are at 8 p.m. and the two Sunday matinees are at 3 p.m. July 27 is the talkback night. Friday and Saturday nights tickets are $18 except July 17 when tickets are two for one. Other performances are $17.00
Tickets may be purchased and/or reserved ahead of time by calling 215-860-0818. Leave a message and someone will return your call. Some seats are available at the box office at times of performances. Website: www.langhorneplayers.org.
Theater/Organization Address: 1440 Newtown Richboror Rd. Newtown, Pennsylvania 19040 (Map It)
Theater/Organization Phone: (215) 630-2448