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Let's Start at the Ending


Harold Pinter's plays often hinge not on the words spoken but on those left unuttered. In Betrayal, Pinter turns that convention somewhat on its head; the play begins with the last scene, giving the audience the denouement in the opening moment. Jerry and Emma meet after the end of their affair, share a conversation about what happened, then part. Betrayal then moves forward into the past, charting the affair's dissolution in reverse, all the way back to the first flickering instant of attraction between the two. The betrayal of the title is not just that of adultery, but of friendship (Emma's husband, Robert, is Jerry's close friend) and of self, as Jerry and Emma lie to themselves and their spouses to cover up their actions. And, of course, as in all of Pinter's work, that marvelous, streamlined dialogue runs throughout, beginning at the end (which is Scene 1, remember) when Emma declares that "I don't think we don't love each other." That uncluttered but confusing confession is the entire thrust of the play, revealed and concealed at the same time. The West End Players Guild presents Betrayal at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday (November 3 through 12) at the Union Avenue Christian Church (733 North Union Boulevard; 314-367-0025 or Tickets are $12 to $15.
Fridays-Sundays. Starts: Nov. 3. Continues through Nov. 12

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