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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Don’t worry, play’s ending won’t betray you”

    Technically, we can spoil the play’s ending because “”Betrayal’s”” first scene is actually its last. OK, here’s the end: Robert and Emma split up. But that’s just the beginning.

    Instead of moving chronologically from beginning to middle to end like most plays, Arizona Repertory Theatre’s “”Betrayal””with its twisted order and cast of ambiguous characters, creates a plot that takes time to unravel.

    “”Betrayal,”” Harold Pinter’s 2005 Nobel Prize-winning play, takes place over the course of a decade. As the play goes backward in time, the first scene reveals husband and wife, Robert and Emma, ending their marriage because Emma is having an affair with Jerry, Robert’s best friend.

    Theatre arts senior Elizabeth Keller, who plays the role of Emma, said most of the personalities of the characters are not

    obvious like they can be in some plays. Rather, characters’ thoughts and beliefs are revealed throughout the play’s subtext.

    “”Opposed to Shakespeare, where it’s obvious what people are thinking,”” Keller said.

    The characters were difficult to play for these actors because of the nuances and revelations discovered during the non-sequential play.

    “”You have to really chart what you know in each scene,”” said Jonathan Hicks, a theatre arts senior who plays the part of Robert. “”It takes a lot of character work for each scene, and knowing what they know and what they do not know.””

    By the end of the play, all the pieces of the puzzle come together for the audience. This type of backwards structure can be a little mystifying for the audience, but also much more interesting in trying to decipher the characters and plot.

    “”Things are mentioned in the first scene that people don’t find out about until later,”” Hicks said. “”The director was

    fantastic and was able to carry us along.””

    Samantha Wyer, a seven-time guest director for ART, also serves as Arizona Theatre Company’s associate artistic director.

    For the actors, what started as a baffling backwards play ended as a worthwhile experience that taught them about tapping into the complexities of a character.

    “”We’ve come such a long way,”” Keller said. “”In our first rehearsal, we were just thinking, ‘What is this?’ It’s the hardest play I’ve ever done, but the most rewarding.””

    “”Betrayal”” is showing Feb. 7 to 10, 15 to 17, 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 11, 17, 18, 24 and 25 at 1:30 p.m at the Tornabene Theatre, located near the southeast corner of North Park Avenue and East Speedway Boulevard. Cost is $26 for general audience; $24 for senior citizens, UA employees and military; and $19 for students.

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