Ellen Dostal – BroadwayWorld
As its inaugural production, new classical theatre company The 6th Act, led by co-artistic directors Matthew Leavitt and Liza Seneca, presents two playwrights united by a common theme in AN EVENING OF BETRAYAL. Act One is Harold Pinter’s BETRAYAL, which tells its story of marital infidelity from end to beginning. A condensed version of William Shakespeare’s OTHELLO, also told in reverse, makes up Act Two.
Thematically, the plays work well together, regardless of their authors’ different styles. Shakespeare’s verse poetically reveals his characters’ inner thoughts in a highly-charged verbal display delving into both real and perceived betrayal. For Pinter, the poetry is in the pauses, that emotional connective tissue between the lines that betrays surface pleasantries and tells you what a character is really saying. When done well, the truth of what isn’t being said rings louder than what is.
Stylistically, they exist at opposite ends of the spectrum but each requires actors with a brain who can intellectually process the beats, make the turns naturally, and offer performances with enough emotional maturity to do justice to the characters’ psychological intricacies. Pinter’s text, in particular, is a minefield.
Now running through June 24