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Betrayal - member and critics reviews.
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Sylvia's girl



Joined: 08 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Betrayal, Daniel Craig And Rachel Weisz Struggle With The Torments Of Memory



How much control do you have over your memories? Or do they already control you? In the drama Betrayal, playwright Harold Pinter’s unique blend of women-hating and alcoholism help bring such questions to light. The drama, which stars real-life couple Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz, is one of Pinter’s ‘memory plays.’ Similar to No Man’s Land, the play is told backwards, leaving the audience to piece it together once the curtain falls.
The central question of Betrayal revolves around whether we’re able to go on living, despite the mistakes we made in the past. The answer, at least for Rachel Weisz’s Emma, is a definitive ‘no.’
Pinter, the Nobel Prize-winning playwright who died in 2008, loves to make his characters despicable. He wrote Betrayal in 1977, inspired by his affair with BBC news anchor Joan Bakewell while married to actress Vivien Merchant. The son of a Jewish tailor, the young Pinter was relocated during the Blitz to the English countryside. The effect was dramatic; his biographer Michael Billington writes that Pinter’s departure from his parents created memories of “profound loneliness, bewilderment, separation, and loss: themes that are all in his works.”
He excels in highlighting human ambiguity and cruelty, and the driving loneliness and depression that fuel it. His writing, dripping with uncomfortable pauses and second-guesses, feels remarkably British in its stiffness. Perhaps the greatest flaw with Mike Nichols’ production is the ignorance of this fact. On stage, the actors talk with each other, and over each other, afraid to let silence wash over their pretty faces. And Nichols (who won 10 Tonys for talky plays like The Odd Couple and Death of a Salesman) doesn’t seem to get it. The gaps between dialogues are half of Pinter’s brilliance—he wants his characters to squirm, unable to grasp the right thing to say.
The play begins in 1977, two years after the end of Jerry (Rafe Spall) and Emma’s affair. Jerry learns that Emma told her husband–and his best friend–Robert (Daniel Craig, with a horrible 70s shag cut) of the affair years before it ended. This upsets Jerry—not the discovery of the affair, but rather that he no longer has a secret to keep. The next scene, wherein he confronts Robert, Jerry can’t comprehend the nature of their continuing friendship. Why didn’t Robert tell him he knew? Why would he ignore the affair between his best friend and his wife? On the surface, Robert explains he doesn’t give a shit who his wife sleeps with; he’s sleeping with other women, so who cares? But Jerry does care, and deeply.
As the play’s only woman, Weisz has a difficult task of injecting the impulsive Emma with humanity and humor. Her experience as a film actress complements the role, using subtle voice and movement changes to demonstrate Emma’s crumbling psyche. The performance is remarkably restrained, with Weisz often curling herself up to the smallest possible shape, shrinking around the males in spite of herself. Daniel Craig, as the sneering chauvinist Robert, doesn’t have much to do. However, he has some of the play’s greatest and funniest lines, and Craig clearly relishes the role.
Betrayal is a good play, and a thoughtful one. A feeling of unease pervades the drama, and one can’t be sure why. The characters are certainly trapped—Ian MacNeil’s stage design literally boxes the actors in, and doesn’t let them go. Though Nichols ignores the British tightness inherent in Pinter’s work, the actors still flesh out these horrid characters, using the cramped space to buffer themselves from feeling anything real.
For a play this powerful, however, it’s a true shame it isn’t more accessible. As a theater-goer under the age of 85, I was clearly in the minority at the Barrymore Theater. And with tickets as expensive as mopeds, you may come expecting a flawless experience. Unfortunately, I found myself sitting next to a gentleman with a broken hearing aid, the static feedback played in constant tandem with the actors’ lines. Talk about betrayal.


Read more: In Betrayal, Daniel Craig And Rachel Weisz Struggle With The Torments Of Memory · NYU Local http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2013/12/04/in-betrayal-daniel-craig-and-rachel-weisz-struggle-with-the-torments-of-memory/#ixzz2mXAUwptN
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Sylvia's girl



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.berkshirefinearts.com/12-23-2013_pinter-s-betrayal-more-sizzle-than-steak.htm
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cassandra



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

These theatregoers liked the play:
Quote:
Our seats were almost as beautiful as the performance that was held before our eyes. The cast could not have been better and everything was so fluent and flawless. It was just the right balance of scandal, romance, and deception to keep our bottoms off our seats. It had much more of a comedic relief than the original film, but it all worked together wonderfully. I’m sure it helped that we were seeing it a while after it began showing, so whatever kinks that may have been present were certainly gone. The whole show was absolutely outstanding, would definitely recommend.

http://probingthecosmos.wordpress.com/2013/12/23/christmas-in-the-big-apple/


In this critic's view the three performances didn't add up to a play. However, he does have something complimentary to say about the actors.
Quote:
The stars are the husband-and-wife team Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz as Robert and Emma; it’s their participation – and particularly that of Craig, the movies’ much adored James Bond – that must have bankrolled the show and that certainly accounts for its sold-out run. And they’re something to watch: Craig’s craggy, sculpted face and haughty, narrowed gaze, his brooding, restless masculine presence like that of a prizefighter battling the demons of his vanished opponents; Weisz’s fragile, diminutive beauty, her fractured pensiveness. I love both these actors and it’s thrilling to watch them live; in the nineteenth-century sense of theatre as a frame for famous figures who outdistance the piddling limitations of real life, they’re giving audiences their money’s worth. And Rafe Spall – recognizable to North American audiences as the writer to whom Irrfan Khan unravels his story in the film Life of Pi – plays Jerry as an amusingly neurotic amalgam of wayward, often contradictory impulses. Watching him lunge drunkenly at Weisz in the final scene, at a party where Jerry first declares himself to Emma, is fun in a Saturday Night Live revue-sketch sort of way. (The beginning of the affair ends the play because the narrative of the play moves backwards, from 1977, when Robert and Emma, split up for two years, meet for a drink, to 1968.)

http://www.criticsatlarge.ca/2013/12/betrayal-theatre-lite.html
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cassandra



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

England’s Most Enigmatic Modern Playwright Takes New York

In this article in Newsweek there is a quote from Antonia Fraser:
"I will hazard the opinion that Harold would have been absolutely thrilled by the present success of his two plays on Broadway. The first thing Daniel Craig said to me when we met after Betrayal was 'I wish Harold was here to see this.' I agreed with him totally."

http://mag.newsweek.com/2014/01/17/england-s-enigmatic-modern-playwright-takes-new.html
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Sylvia's girl



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Cass
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purple



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Because on another thread I was encouraged to share my opinions about Betrayal, here it goes.

But first a small prologue. I discovered Mr Craig in 2013, by accident, when one evening, because of boredom and a sort of Bond nostalgia (my story with Bond is a rather difficult one, I don't want to bore anybody) I rented Skyfall. Well, it took me about 15 seconds ( the first 15 seconds of the movie) to be completely besotted. All I could think during the movie was "I had no idea a Bond movie could be like that! WHO IS DANIEL CRAIG?" And then I watched Casino Royale and QoS. And then the rest of his movies. It was particularly Copenhagen that made me think he must be wonderful on stage. And that I would really like to see him like that. Some googling later I had found out that indeed he used to do theatre work in London and the reviews for A number definitely confirmed my opinion of his acting skills.

Then I found out that he was going to be on Broadway and a series of fortunate circumstances made it possible for me to go to NY in november and see the play.

I hadn't seen any Pinter play before and initially I did not want to see any other version of the play. But Brantley's review annoyed me so much, I thought is was so unprofessional (it felt as almost the guy had made up his mind to hate the play and had already written the review before the official opening all because DC also plays James Bond) that I looked for another version of Betrayal. I found on youtube the film with Jeremy Irons which is universally praised by all Pinter purists and I liked it.

But I LOVED the Broadway version, I thought it was mind blowing. Power games, rivalry underneath friendship, insecurities, a sort of animalistic intensity, erotism, brutality, danger - it was all there. To me it seemed that it was all about the relationship between Robert and Jerry, Emma being a mere catalyst for that. I never had the impression Jerry was actually in love with her. Jerry was fascinated by Robert, by what Robert had and by what Robert was. Between them, it seemed like Robert had always been the dominant male - by having Emma, by possessing her, Jerry tries to reverse this. Actually on stage Jerry comes out as a very insecure person - very loud, very outspoken but his jokes, his lines, his laughter, everything reflects his insecurities. From this point of view Rafe Spall did a wonderful job.

But it was Daniel Craig as Robert who was truly the dominant presence - he was so intense, so dangerous, so furious at some points...you could almost never tell if his reactions were those of the male who wants to keep his top position, those of the betrayed friend or those of the betrayed lover/husband. There was this incredible magnetism in his presence on stage, in the way he spoke or moved, you could sense there was so much more lurking beyond what was said...That repressed fury and disappointment...The moment he kisses Emma after Jerry leaves their house - it is intensely and brutally erotic, it is clearly a punishment, there is nothing sweet about it. If I had to choose one word to describe the character, I would say that Mr Craig's Robert is a predatory.

I must confess, at the end of the play I found my toes were curled inside my shoes because of all the awkward atmosphere Smile

If I thought it was homo-erotic? Not in the slightest. As I said I thought it had to do more with the power games between the two men.

I think that Mike Nicholls really took risks with this staging. In my opinion it payed off big time. However I am certain the critics will snub both the play and the performances - and I think that is a pity.

To finish this awfully long post I would just like to say that I would be thrilled to be able to tell Mr Brantley that those who went to see Daniel Craig on stage did not do it expecting to see him perform stunts shirtless. No doubt he is an incredibly attractive man. But beyond that he is truly one of the most amazing and gifted actors I have ever seen.


Last edited by purple on Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:20 pm; edited 3 times in total
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CockHargreaves



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh thank you, Purple, for that review. That's exactly how I hoped it was. Damn, I wish I could have seen it myself! So glad that you were able to and that Daniel's power and presence as an actor lived up to your expectations.
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Germangirl
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love the analysis. Haven't seen it myself, but others here have. You are really good with words and with describing atmosphere and connections. Thanks for the review.

The critics were mixed, yes, but as you mentionned, most of those, who didn't like it, were somewhat irritated by Mikes version of it, which was never seen before. Guess, that's what made it hit or miss for people. Those, who understood, what he was trying to do, loved it and that is what counts for them, I suppose.

I am sure, they knew, they wouldn't be everybodies darlings with this version. But knowing Daniel, he couldn't care less and wouldn't sacrifice art for the sake of "success". Wink
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The top notch acting in the Weisz/Craig/Spall 'Betrayal' is emotionally true, often v funny and its beautifully staged with filmic qualities..

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purple



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Germangirl wrote:


The critics were mixed, yes, but as you mentionned, most of those, who didn't like it, were somewhat irritated by Mikes version of it, which was never seen before. Guess, that's what made it hit or miss for people. Those, who understood, what he was trying to do, loved it and that is what counts for them, I suppose.

I am sure, they knew, they wouldn't be everybodies darlings with this version. But knowing Daniel, he couldn't care less and wouldn't sacrifice art for the sake of "success". Wink


I will answer with Raoul Silva's words: "Their loss!" Wink
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Dunda
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Purple, your review is so spot on!

A joy to read, really and yes I felt it too.

Daniel is boiling with rage under the surface, smoldering emotions just under the calm facade. He choose the perfect role in the is agry bit of writing.
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Elaine_Figgis
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After the news of Betrayal returning to Broadway with DC, I paid attention to the buzz. I posted a link some time ago featuring some talking heads in the business discussing this, and more specifically Harold Pinter and his love/hate relationship with the NY theater world. Though dead for some time, I think that sentiment continues, jading or coloring some of the professional reviews.

Thanks Purple for the spot on review. Like Dunda, I agree.
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purple



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the kind words, I am glad you liked it. Elaine what your are saying is very interesting - do you think you could repost that link?

I was very furious and disappointed to see some of those reviews (especially that of Ben Brantley which sounded like a personal vendetta against mr Craig) and many of the comments on the Broadway world forum. The underlying idea seemed to be "well he plays Bond so any other work he might do is automatically void of any value; what is he doing on Broadway anyway?"

A sort of snobbish attitude that drove me nuts because it was so unfair.

That being said, I was also a bit disappointed with the audience - everybody was laughing as if it was an episode from Friends. I did smile a couple of times but mostly I felt a threatening irony more than anything.
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Elaine_Figgis
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

purple wrote:
Thank you for the kind words, I am glad you liked it. Elaine what your are saying is very interesting - do you think you could repost that link?

I was very furious and disappointed to see some of those reviews (especially that of Ben Brantley which sounded like a personal vendetta against mr Craig) and many of the comments on the Broadway world forum. The underlying idea seemed to be "well he plays Bond so any other work he might do is automatically void of any value; what is he doing on Broadway anyway?"

A sort of snobbish attitude that drove me nuts because it was so unfair.

That being said, I was also a bit disappointed with the audience - everybody was laughing as if it was an episode from Friends. I did smile a couple of times but mostly I felt a threatening irony more than anything.

Yes, the laughing and giggling was unnerving me as well. I hope it was from nerves. But yeah, I didn't find it funny.

From a NYC theater based talk show called Theater Talk. I think this is the link for the correct show.
http://www.theatertalk.org/fall-2013-season-preview/
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Alina



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello, purple, thanks for your review, very interesting! So you're another lucky one to have seen Daniel live on stage Smile
It's NEVER too late to discover Daniel - you discovered him only recently, but from what you've written here so far, I can see you've made up for "lost" time very quickly Smile The Bonds, other Daniel movies and a trip o NY to see Betrayal - wel, well, I'm impressed Smile But that's fully understandable and beware - Daniel can be very addictive - once you get hooked, you "soak in" for a long time (we hope you will) Smile
I'm also new here, joined only 4 months ago, but I've loved Daniel for quite a long time now. And can't stop. I don't want to stop anyway Smile
I wonder if you could go into more detail as far as the sexual tension/interaction between Robert and Emma (or Daniel and Rachel) is concerned. sf2la saw the play several times and at the end of the run she wrote a beautuful wrap-up of it, comparing different performances. Below is an excerpt from her report. I wonder what your observations on this matter were.
Quote:
As for all of us in the audience who were interested to see R&D together, they did not disappoint. I know they were in their roles (I'm assuming so, anyway, and that they are over their honeymoon period), but seeing her stroke his back, seeing them look at each other before they kiss, seeing him hold her head in his hands as he pulls in for a long kiss, and then seeing the different ways they portray them right before having sex was just hot. Regarding the pre-sex scene (oh why couldn't they have continued that scene????!!!!), on opening night he just kissed her standing up - as is what the playwright calls out for, to him getting on top of her as she's on the sofa (mind you, she is sitting up), to him going through the motions of pulling her pants down before the lights go out, to no longer doing that and just making out with him on top (her still sitting on the sofa) to these last two shows of her stretched out on the sofa and he is on top of her lying down. That's hot. A real takeaway for me, which I've already written about, was how during opening night, Daniel continued to make out with Rachel after the stage had revolved out of stage sight and they were in the dark. They stayed there making out. It just seemed so sensual/sexual and it was obvious that they were a real-life couple in love. Not everyone had visibility into where they were in the darkness. Without a doubt they thought no one could see them. Other performances they got up and changed for their next scene as they have very little time to do so.


Nice, isn't it?

Oh, and welcome to the forum, of course Smile
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purple



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well Alina that is one addiction I don't want to get rid of Very Happy ever.

As for your question, I am afraid I can't elaborate on that. I deliberately tried not to think of them as DC & RW but as Robert and Emma in order to better understand the dynamics between the characters. Why was Emma cheating on her husband after all?

That wrap-up review...wow...I saw the play on 3 November so I suppose a lot changed/evolved by the end. But yes there were some scenes very erotically charged in a menacing sort of way. The way Emma cried and whimpered when Robert kissed her, after Jerry left their house - well that was truly nerve wrecking.

Perhaps this was part of the answer to my question - to Emma Robert was too domineering, too brutal maybe. Jerry was somehow softer, less menacing.
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