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Nobel-Winning Playwright Harold Pinter’s ‘Betrayal’ to Open at Boston Center for the Arts

Another Country Productions (ACP) and the Factory Theatre will premiere their third collaboration this coming week: the Boston production of Betrayal by Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter, cast with Meisner-trained actors and directed by Gail Phaneuf. Performances will be held from May 20th through June 5th on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm, plus one additional performance on Wednesday, May 26 at 2:00 pm. The production is located at The Boston Center for the Arts Calderwood Pavilion, 527 Tremont St., Boston.

Often described as the most accessible of Pinter’s award-winning plays, Betrayal explores a recurring literary theme: the romantic triangle, rich with layers of subtext and inchoate desire. Director Gail Phaneuf reaches beyond conventional expectations, exploring the intoxication of infidelity as a world two lovers embrace as a haven. This dislocated reality is the fascination of her vision, deflecting the common rush to judgement reaction. “With famous athletes and politicians continually revealing their inability to resist temptation, and statistics identifying as many as 50% of marriages have affairs in their past or future, the question needs to be asked: why do affairs happen?” says Phaneuf, “This play reveals the struggle of complicated longing, and lets audiences understand the nature of forbidden temptation.” Phaneuf’s view of the infidelity at the heart of the play reflects the desire for fantasy and a secret life, as well as its inevitable consequences.

“Since establishing Another Country in 2003,” states Lyralen Kaye, Artistic Director, “I’ve wanted to influence audiences on what great theatre can be. In the Meisner-driven aesthetic, audiences aren’t presented with a story; they live it vicariously through actors who are taught to create real relationships with each other. This level of authenticity, often associated only with film, prioritizes ensemble and connection over star power. Betrayal, with its levels of emotional complication, could not be better served than by this technique.”

“I have found very few opportunities to perform where the entire company is focused on engagement, spontaneity and honesty in a way that is true to Sandy Meisner,” says ACP co-producer and Betrayal co-star Wayne Fritsche, “The Meisner approach will bring Pinter’s brilliance to life in a way that audiences won’t have seen before.”

The Factory Theatre’s Greg Jutkiewicz is also enthusiastic about the technique. “My focus as a producer is on supporting fringe theatre,” says Jutkiewicz. “The Factory has been so successful in providing a space for the smaller companies of Boston, we’ve taken our collaborations to other venues. I wanted to continue collaborating with Another Country because I could see from our first collaboration that audiences recognized something different in the style of acting. They told me everything felt more real, and they kept coming back.”

Betrayal is a departure for Another Country as well, who until now have only produced new works featuring underrepresented voices. “We’ve focused very much on bringing new voices to the stage, so it’s no surprise that the writing is what gets the attention,” says Managing Director Judy Sclarsky. “Betrayal is an opportunity to turn the audience attention to the acting aesthetic about which we are equally passionate.”

Cast in the production are Wayne Fritsche, Lyralen Kaye, Robert Kropf (a member of Actors Equity) and James Wilcox.

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