Experience Shakespeare and Pinter in ‘An Evening of Betrayal’ in NoHo

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Review by Tim Lydeen

When I was invited to see An Evening of Betrayal I was wondering what I was getting myself into. I was told it concerned how two masters of language, Harold Pinter and William Shakespeare, dealt with the same subject: betrayal. The first half features Pinter’s Betrayal in its entirety followed by an abridged one-hour adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello, both featuring the same four actors. I wasn’t sure how this was going to work, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Pinter’s Betrayal takes place in London and Venice starting in 1977 and works its way back to 1968. The main storyline here, about a couple of longtime secretive affairs among friends, seems quaint compared to the madness in Othello. It was minimal and complex and wrapped up somewhat sweetly and neatly in just over an hour.

What was done with Othello was brilliant! Liza Seneca (Emma in Betrayal, Desdemona and Bianca in Othello) took the well-known story and pared it down to just the main storyline involving Othello (forcefully portrayed by William DeMeritt), Iago (cunningly played by Adam J. Smith), Desdemona, Bianca, Cassio and Emilia (both amazingly played by Luke McClure). She then turned the story around to the same way Betrayal unfolds-seeing the end first and then following the events to see how it got there.

I highly recommend this production as an introduction to those who are not familiar with Shakespeare or are not sure how they feel about his plays, as well as to those who are die-hard fans!

Presented by 6th Act at Theatre 68, located at 5112 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood, until Sunday, June 24. Tickets are $25 and available at BrownPaperTickets.com.

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