Huntington’s Betrayal a Mix of Guilt, Love, and Lies: Pinter Play Marks a Homecoming for CFA Alum

in CFA, Theatre
November 19th, 2012

The cast of Betrayal includes Mark H. Dold (CFA’86) as Robert (from left), Gretchen Egolf as Emma, and Alan Cox as Jerry. Photo courtesy of the Huntington Theatre Company

The cast of Betrayal includes Mark H. Dold (CFA’86) as Robert (from left), Gretchen Egolf as Emma, and Alan Cox as Jerry. Photo courtesy of the Huntington Theatre Company

What is the worst part of an affair—the deception surrounding it, the self-absorption and guilt that inevitably occur, or the secrets that people hold from one another?

That question is central to Betrayal, Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter’s 1978 drama chronicling the passionate seven-year affair between Emma and Jerry, a married man who’s also the best friend of Emma’s husband, Robert. Each of the characters betrays the others and themselves in surprising and unexpected ways as they explore the intricacies of love, guilt, and duplicity in this 80-minute Huntington Theatre Company production, running through December 9 at the BU Theatre.

Made into a film, starring Jeremy Irons, in 1983, Betrayal is regarded as one of Pinter’s greatest—and most accessible—plays. Inspired by Pinter’s extramarital affair with a BBC newscaster, the play is notable for its use of reverse chronology, opening after the affair has ended and darting back and forth in time.

Betrayal is directed by Maria Aitken, who helmed last year’s critically praised Huntington production of Noel Coward’s Private Lives and also directed the company’s 2007 production of The 39 Steps. The play stars Mark H. Dold (CFA’86) as Robert, Alan Cox as Jerry, Gretchen Egolf as Emma, and Luis Negrón as the waiter. Aitken brings a wealth of personal and professional knowledge to the play, having been a friend of the late playwright’s, who had directed her early in her career.

For Dold, this production marks his first return to the BU Theatre since graduating from BU. In the intervening decades, he has performed in numerous off-Broadway Shakespeare productions, has appeared on Broadway in Alan Aykbourn’s comedy Absurd Person Singular, and has made guest appearances on numerous TV shows, including Gossip Girl, Law & Order, and All My Children. For the past two years, Dold starred in the acclaimed off-Broadway drama Freud’s Last Session, playing C. S. Lewis, who vigorously debates the existence of God with Sigmund Freud days before the psychotherapist’s death.

BU Today recently sat down with Dold to discuss Betrayal, Pinter’s artistry, and his long-awaited homecoming.

BU Today: The London Telegraph called Betrayal “the greatest and most moving of all Pinter’s plays.” Does that place any extra pressure on you as an actor?

Dold: There is a lot of pressure whenever you’re doing a really famous play. But I’m not going to go down that road. That’s just too much. Also, you want to make it new. You want it to be fresh. You want it to be a play for people that, even if they’ve seen it before, you want it to seem like they haven’t. You have to, in a strange way, cut the legacy off and do it as if it’s the first time you’ve ever done it.

Written by Leslie Friday, BU Today. Read the complete article from BU Today.