Theater Review: Betrayal

’betrayal.jpg’To begin, a small rant:

For the love of the ever living g*d, why the fuck does every damn theater in Los Angeles County insist on calling its space a theatRE?! We’re not in the UK! We don’t use cheques, the last letter of the alphabet is pronounced “zee” not “zed,” and cricket is a cousin of the locust, not a game.

I mean, really.

A can of pickled herring from the private stock of Dan the LA City Bureaucrat to the best answer to this question. Post your answer in the comments section. And no whining. My decision is final, dammit. It’s my smelly fish, and I’ll give it to whom I please.

I grew up in a part of San Diego called Rancho Penasquitos, which is Spanish for “Rancho Penasquitos.” The main shopping area, which came complete with a Jack In the Box AND a El Pollo Loco, was known as the Penasquitos Towne Centre. This irritated me, and not only due to the dearth of dining options, but because a friggin’ strip mall does not bring to mind Jolly ’Ole England. It calls to mind Jolly ’Ole Topeka, hardly the place I want swimming to mind when thinking upon the halcyon days of my youth.

But, anyhow…

“Betrayal” is an excellent play. You should go see it. It has two things I love: a plot (weirdly missing from a lot of current shows) and a twisted time frame. That is, the tale is told backwards, opening at the point where an affair between Emma (Christine Stump/Robin Roy) and Jerry (J. Richey Nash), the heart of the plot, ends.

And then Emma’s husband Robert (Christopher Cappiello) shows up, revving up the play’s engine and motoring it backwards to its beginning. It’s like a stop-motion film of flowers blooming, whithering and dying, only in reverse. It’s all the more wrenching, looking at that reformed whole, as we all know Emma and Jerry’s love is doomed.

The play has a staccato feel, the lines coming at you fast, deftly transversing the tragic and farcical scenes, and keeping the whole sordid business from collapsing under its own weight. But it slows down too, abruptly switching gears into a series of pregnant (and ultimately stillborn) pauses, making the audience squirm a bit. Emotion! It’s what’s for dinner.

“Betrayal” by Harold Pinter
Directed by James Carey (no, not THAT James Carey)

The Attic Theatre & Film Center
5429 W. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90016
Playing until May 12, each Thursday through Saturday @ 8 p.m.
Tickets, $20

Photo by James Carey