Distinctive amateur drama
in Northampton since 1932
Registered Charity No. 294848
by Harold Pinter
Cast & Crew
Jerry Fraser Haines
Emma Mindy Robinson
Robert Martin Williams
Waiter Phil Purkiss
Director Brian Harrap
Production Design Tamsyn Payne
Stage Manager Clare Brittain
Continuity Gemma Knight
Light and Sound Mario Nobre
Properties Mark Mortimer
Publicity Bernie Wood
Front of House & Box Office Masque Members
Fraser Haines as Jerry and Mindy Robinson as Emma. Photo by Joe Brown
Production No. 363
Brian Harrap, director
Harold Pinter, who died in December 2008, was one of the most celebrated and influential of British dramatists of the last 100 years and this production by Masque Theatre is one of the first on the amateur stage since his death.
He was one of a select band of authors to have spawned his own adjective, Pinteresque, which generally applies to a situation freighted with menace, where common discourse is a camouflage for a fierce battle for psychological territory, as in plays like The Birthday Party and The Caretaker, and Old Times where the present state of mind of the characters is hostage to a powerful, but foggy past. Interpretation by an audience is problematic and Pinter rather gnomically said himself that no analysis is needed; all that is needed is on the stage.
But Betrayal, first performed at the National in 1978, represents a departure into naturalism, partly by being inspired by his own life. Here there are no secrets to those who watch; we all see a minor personal tragedy of loss of friendship, love, trust and self-respect presented as the play progresses, burrowing backwards in time from polite indifference to passion. This is a whydunnit, a whodunnit.
All the characters are in the world of arts and books; the talk and coded antagonisms between the men are about their authors, whose rises and falls are pieces in a hidden game. But there is warmth and the reality of families; ultimately Emma is the one who stays most true to herself, her husband and her lover, one dark and self-contained, the other boyish and expansive.
This is Pinter’s most accessible psychological thriller, where psychodrama meets roller coaster. Playing the main parts in our production is Fraser Haines, Martin Williams and Mindy Robinson.
17 - 21 February 2009 at 7.45pm
Northampton College Studio Theatre, Booth Lane, Northampton
Page last updated: 16/02/2013 Masque Theatre © 2013
Owen Warr, Masque Theatre member
Armed with an axiom from Biographia Literaria of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, one’s first critical impulse is to assess the extent to which a drama group is successful in procuring "that willing suspension of disbelief, for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith"
The performance proffered by Brian Harrap's team was noteworthy for the admirable degree to which, in my opinion, this objective was attained.
The cast, designer, stage management, continuity, lighting, sound and property departments are all to be congratulated for the manner in which the underlying history of the two relationships (Emma, played by Mindy Robinson in a pivotal role between husband Robert, played by Martin Williams, and Jerry the Best Man at their wedding, depicted by Fraser Haines), was played without an elaborate setting and with minimalist props which enabled scene changes to be managed deftly and unobtrusively.
The episodes in a marriage crowded by three persons - and only too painfully familiar to modern audiences - were enacted before a house which one could feel to be gripped by the palpable truths enshrined in Pinter's prose and in the committed performances of the players.
Mention should not be omitted of Phil Purkis who throve in a delightful cameo role with meticulous attention to "melone, insalate verde, prosciutto e melone, Corvo Bianco, Scotch and white wine”.
One felt that, as an ensemble, the cast had enjoyed their task and communicated the play's content accessibly to their audience. Well Done.