During the post-show discussion following our first performance of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal last night we were asked about the significance of seasons. In this second Converse Theatre production of the play, we project text stating the setting for each of the nine scenes, follow Pinter’s text by including the season: Spring (scenes 1 & 2) Winter ( sc.3) Autumn (4) Summer (5,6,7) Spring (8) Winter (9). I explained how these had influenced lighting and other aspects of the design, but that the deeper purpose is to point up the idea of circularity as opposed to linearity.
Due to the unusual structure of the play, in which the story of theses characters relationships is told in reverse chronology, so we see them in the first scenes remembering things we witness later in the play, there is a risk of obsessing about the time line. The two male characters are concerned about who knows what when. Naming the seasons helps us notice that what goes around comes around and the sense of rhythm in the relationships. Spring in the first two scenes alerts us to the potential of new possibilities opening up for Emma now it’s “all, all over”, perhaps the re-establishment of Jerry and Robert’s friendship after ‘not seeing each other for months’. Winter in scene 3 for the death of the affair. Autumn in Scene 4 as the cracks begin to show. Summer for the key scenes 5-7 when the situation is at its hottest. Spring for scene 8 when then the lover’s relationship is still ‘new’. Finally Winter for the last (earliest) scene, signalling darkness, subterranean desires.
This production has been a cycle of seasons in the making – initial meetings, the workshops, the period of learning, the intensive phase of rehearsals. Now its harvest time. So far the audience seem to be enjoying the results of what we have planted and tended and I am looking forward to the next questions our audience bring.