An empty, unmade bed.
The sheets are rumpled, the covers askew.
There are indentations on the pillows.
The vision is both erotic and sad.
That centerstage bed is the first thing you see when you walk into the Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, and it’s an apt metaphor for the powerful production of Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Harold Pinter’s classic tale of adultery, “Betrayal.”
It’s also an image that will likely haunt you for days after you leave the theater.
Directed with a sure hand by Terence Lamude – his eighth play for Cap Rep, including “Doubt” in 2008, as well as “Boston Marriage” and “The Seafarer,” both last year – “Betrayal” is a poetic tale told backwards of marriage, friendships and lives destroyed by passion and deception.
There’s no mystery here as to who is betrayed and who does the betraying. The answer is, quite simply, everyone in the play.
Making her Cap Rep debut is Hollis McCarthy as Emma, the wife of Robert (Tim Smallwood), who has a seven-year affair with Robert’s best friend Jerry (Timothy Deenihan).
Throughout the multi-layered, 90-minute production, the acting is on the money. Intensely focused, intimate and sublimely subtle, the three actors make Pinter’s famous pregnant silences speak volumes. Veteran local actor Gary Maggio also makes the most of his brief role as the waiter, adding a light touch in his cameo appearance.
Not that Cap Rep’s “Betrayal” is a relentlessly dark and foreboding night out. Lamude manages to mine the play for touches of humor – especially in the characters substitution of alcohol for communication – even if those moments are primarily derived from nervous tension.
Ken Goldstein‘s set is magnificently spare, almost cold, yet Rachel Budin‘s lighting design deftly reinforces the play’s subterfuges with its film-noir-ish shadow-play.
“Betrayal” is not light-hearted fare. But at Cap Rep, it is a rich and rewarding evening of theater.
Capital Repertory Theatre’s “Betrayal” runs through Sunday, February 7.