Betrayal By Pinter

     The American university in Cairo Performing and Visual Arts opened its 1998
Spring Season on February 13th in Wallace Theater on campus with Harold Pinter's
play, Betrayal. This play was directed by Eric Grischkat, and the costume design
was made by Timaree Mc Cormick. AUC students have strongly participated in the
designing, lighting, setting, directing, and in acting. These students were Noha
Farouk, Shereef Bishay, Karim Bishay, Ramsi Lehner, and Alaa Shalaby. Betrayal
is play that tell the story of two very close friends, Robert, and Jerry. Both
of them were married and had children. Both families loved, and respected each
other. However, this did not last long because betrayals took place. This play
includes eight betrayals; therefore, one can obviously see how well fit the
title is to the main theme of the play . In the first place, Emma resorted to
betraying her husband because she did not find true love with him so she thought
she could find it with Jerry . However, she failed this time too and so she
tried Casey. Robert was not the right person for Emma as he was so cold. There
is nothing that moves him even when he knew that Emma was betraying him , he was
only concerned with whether Ned was his son or not. This is not the normal
action of any husband who have just found out that his wife has been betraying
him with his best friend for five whole years ! Pinter has written this play in
an unusual way . Its actions move from the latter to the former;( i.e. the play
began in the year 1977 and ended in 1968 ). Pinter said that the most effective
way to handle this play was by moving backwards. I agree with him because if it
moved normally from the oldest to the latest it would not have been that
interesting . Eric Grischkat keeps the energy and the actors moving, remembering
that the main idea is the dishonesty and betrayal of friends who are humans, not
only ideas. He left enough room for the audiences to use their imagination by
following the too many pauses and silence that are found in the script. The
production of the play was successful in that it was far better than reading it
. Eric managed to choose the right crew to work with, the actors , the designer
of the sets, scene, costumes, lights, sound, and projections . They all worked
together to present this good performance. The Wallace Theater is a proscenium
theater with low ceiling and small stage which is an obstacle to the director
but he managed to solve this problem with the help of the set designer. The
action was clear and it build climatically. There was a variety in the mood. All
the characters changed a lot from the beginning till the end of the play. The
costume and set designer, Timaree McCormick, has created a new world through her
special choice of colors of the sets and of the costumes as both of them
conveyed the place and the time where and when the play occurred. In Scene Nine,
when it was 1968, Emma was wearing mini-skirts which matched the fashion of that
time, while in Scene One the style were different as it matched the fashion of
the 70s. Timaree’s choise of colors had certain significance . For example,

Jerry kept wearing the brown color throughout the play. The significance of this
is that he is the person who knows nothing and who betrayed his best friend.

She made an excellent use of every single part of the stage. Although the space
was limited, she managed to overcome this problem. For example, the entrances
and exits were done from the outside of the Wallace because of the lack of the
space. She made use of every piece of furniture on the stage, such as the bed
that was used twice. It was once Robert’s and Emma’s hotel room in Venice
and other time , the bed inside the bedroom in Robert’s and Emma’s house in

London. She used the apron of the stage as the balcony in the hotel room in

Venice. The arrangement of the furniture affected the movement of the actors.

She succeeded in her job. The lighting, by Alaa Shalaby, was so important to the
actions in the play. He knew when to blacken the stage and when to focus the
light on one character .He used a wonderful dark blue color to express the night
and it was especially used in Jerry and Emma’s flat. He tried to overcome the
problem of the white walls and he managed to do so by painting the floor black.

The characters in Betrayal are all great except for some performances that I
personally did not like. Emma, Noha Farouk, is a good actor but l had the
feeling that she was over acting . She was not natural in her actions and
reactions, especially when she was laughing or crying. However, she had good
skills in moving and speaking. Jerry, Shereef Bishay, played a very important
role and he played it perfectly well. He gave the impression that he is so
truthful and that he was really angry when he knew that his best friend Robert
knew about his relationship with Emma. His movements were matching so well with
the actions in the play. He is the one who gave a slight sense of humor to this
non-comic play. To sum up, I think that the production of Betrayal was saved by
director Eric Grischkat’s skillful staging. I like the production very much
although I did not like the play at all when I first read the script. The
performance was well planned for and it was represented in such a perfect way.

Students had proved their capabilities and their theatrical abilities to succeed
. The set design is one of the important factor in the success of this play,
together with the lighting. That is why I will participate in any coming
interesting work!