One of the coolest things in life is to go somewhere and be surprised by what you find.
Thatâ€™s what happened at opening night at Soulstice Theatreâ€™s production of "Betrayal" Friday night.
This little shoestring company which has delivered unevenly in past seasons delivered an astoundingly and surprisingly powerful version of one of the great plays of the 20th century.
"Betrayal" was written by Harold Pinter, one of the angry young men of the world of theater, and it is a towering drama based on his own extra-marital affair. It is a scathing indictment of the lies we all tell, to those we love and to ourselves and demands subtlety and nuance to come alive on stage.
A trio of actors delivered all that and more opening night. These are complex characters Pinter has created and they fall flat if not given room for that complexity by the actors.
Under the direction of Matthew Michaelis, this play moves from the end of the story to the beginning with nary a misstep.
The story is of Robert, whose wife, Emma, has an seven-year affair with Jerry, who is Robertâ€™s best friend and who was the best man t their wedding. This might have been the ho-hum "him, him and her" love triangle story. But it is so much more than that.
This play is about the deceits, big and small, that can fill a life and drive you off track. Itâ€™s about people who get hurt, people who do the hurting and how each of them copes with the fallout.
Joe Krapf, who plays the buttoned-up Robert and Andrew Riebau, who plays the Scotch-fueled Jerry, absolutely sparkle. Krapf is the one who carries his cuckold with a stiff upper lip while Riebau manages to ignore the chasm and remain best friends with Robert.
Amy Hansmann is a gigantic surprise as Emma.Â She smolders on stage. She is sexy, uncertain, lonely, deceitful, passionate and afraid.
She loves her family and loves the flat she and Jerry have rented. She wants the flat to become a home, something more than a bedded cloister for afternoon sexual romps with Jerry. She cooks stews and buys a tablecloth in Venice, all to create what is her great illusion â€“ a second home to share with her lover.
The opening scene of the play takes place two years after Jerry and Emma have broken up. So we all know how this drama ends.
But what makes this such a great play is that it proves, again, that it is the journey that is the really fascinating part of life.
There were fewer than a dozen people in the audience opening night. Thatâ€™s a shame. This is a play that deserves a big crowd.
For more information, visitÂ soulsticetheatre.org.
Cast: Amy Hansmann, Andrew Riebau, Joe Krapf. Director: Matthew Michaelis. Stage manager: Josh Perkins. Costumes: Char Manny.Â
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Dave Begel
Published March 26, 2015
Michael Isikoff is, perhaps, the best investigative reporter in the country and he has written a story about secret big money donations to Scott Walker. The story could well be the death knell for Walker's presidential aspirations.
Published March 24, 2015
Ron Roenicke had the team option through next season picked up, but that decision may well not be the best thing for the Brewers. Lame ducks have the freedom to take risks and be creative which is something the team could use.
Published March 17, 2015
Boxing has started to get national television exposure and early returns are that the sport still has a draw. At one point boxing was one of the most popular sports in the world.
Published March 15, 2015
"The Snow Dragon" at Skylight Music Theatre proves once again that brave choices make for enthralling nights of live entertainment. The English language opera deals with child abuse and the healing process for everyone.
Published March 14, 2015
"Five Presidents," at the Milwaukee Rep, takes a look at what it must have been like when four ex presidents and one sitting one gathered for the funeral for Richard Nixon. The play is full of humor but falls short when it comes to credibility.
Published March 12, 2015
Every candidate goes through the same steps when they think about running for president. Scott Walker has already taken six of the most obvious steps, so he must be serious about this whole thing.
Published March 10, 2015
Now that Bob Dandridge's jersey has been retired, attention moves to who should be next to climb into the ring of honor. There are lots of candidates, including some unusual ones.
Published March 5, 2015
Wisconsin law requires a 48-hour waiting period to purchase a handgun. Gov. Scott Walker has announced he would support a measure that will eliminate that waiting period. He made his pledge to the National Rifle Association.
Published March 3, 2015
Last year spring training was something we needed. As fans of the pro sports teams in Milwaukee and Green Bay, our spirits needed to be lifted out of the doldrums. But now we've got other stuff to be excited about so spring training doesn't have the urgency it once did.
Published March 2, 2015
"Come Back" is the work of local playwright Neal Haven, one getting its world premiere at In Tandem Theatre. It's a play about the grief of losing a loved one and tries to find humor in the situation.