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 Jan. 30, 2015
It's the longest running musical in history, by far, and a troupe in Walker's Point is staging a production of "The Fantasticks" that is as good as the name implies. With great music, it's easy to see why this show has been around and stood the test of time.
Published Jan. 29, 2015
The group, Preserve Our Parks, engaged in a campaign to halt construction of the proposed Couture project, a 44-story building that will add to life at the lakefront. The group is using ancient constitutional provisions to try and stop the project.
Published Jan. 27, 2015
Gary Andersen, who, surprisingly, left the University of Wisconsin for Oregon State, complained that the high academic standards in Madison made it too hard for him to recruit the kind of players he wanted.
Published Jan. 25, 2015
Nothing entertains like a great love story with a murderous ending, and that's what you get in "The Kreutzer Sonata" at Renaissance Theaterworks. The one man play starring James Pickering is a story you won't soon forget.
Published Jan. 24, 2015
The Milwaukee Rep opened "Good People" Friday night and gives it a spectacular production, looking at where we come from, where we go and how we either get there or don't.
Published Jan. 23, 2015
Sources have confirmed that Gov. Scott Walker has decided to include the "jock tax" revenues in his budget to help fund the new arena in downtown Milwaukee.
Published Jan. 23, 2015
Cyndi Przybylski is a software engineer at Rockwell, but she has been bitten by the theater bug. She is taking a scientific approach to it all, realizing that she has a lot to learn and seems ready to learn it.
Published Jan. 23, 2015
Sam Shepard's "True West" is a tale of brothers, joined by blood and driven apart by everything else in their lives. Alchemist Theater gives it a daring and bold production until the end of the month.
Published Jan. 22, 2015
Capt. Dave Salazar of the Milwaukee Police Department supervises the intelligence gathering efforts to try and keep terrorist activities at bay. It's a job that requires lots of cooperation from various agencies, and from the general public.
Published Jan. 20, 2015
Finding the right words for what happened to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday is a challenging task, and I was struggling with it. Enter Brent Hazelton, the Associate Artistic Director of the Milwaukee Rep. He had a Facebook post that captures just about everything I was feeling. I am pleased to share it with you here.