THE autumn season at Derby Theatre begins with an intricate classic from one of the stage’s most celebrated writers.
Betrayal is a major work from Harold Pinter, the writer of The Birthday Party, The Caretaker and The Homecoming, which is being brought to Derby by London Classic Theatre.
It’s the story of Robert, a publisher whose wife and best friend have been having an affair for seven years. One of the great tricks of this multi-layered work is that the action is presented in reverse, starting at the end of the affair and slowly revealing its secrets.
For Steven Clarke, who plays the philandering best friend Jerry, it’s a chance to get his teeth into a meaty modern classic by an acknowledged master.
He says: “I have always been a big Pinter fan. I grew up in a town in Devon without much in the way of theatre so I came to Pinter through reading and was always struck by his work.
“This is the first time I have come to it as an actor and the work has easily met my expectations. The writing is truly extraordinary.
“I get very turned on by writing, Miller Osborne, O’Neill, Pinter. At the end of my days, if I can say I have done their work, I will be very happy indeed. Pinter is hard work but very rewarding
“Betrayal is rarely put on. The rights aren’t always available, the timing isn’t right. But strangely they are doing Betrayal at the same time in New York with Daniel Craig, Rafe Spall and Rachel Weisz. So we are paralleling the Broadway version.”
Steven says although Jerry is the cause of the ‘Betrayal’, after seducing his best friend’s wife, that he’s not necessarily the villain of the piece.
“He’s very open,” says Steven. “Most of Pinter’s work is about characters who can’t articulate their feelings and hide what they want but Jerry is different. He’s very sincere and has a ferocious appetite for life. He’s smart but his intellect doesn’t come into play when it‘s something he wants – in many ways he’s dangerously naive. If he had a box of matches, the whole house would burn down. He’s fascinating to play.”
Betrayal can be seen from September 5-7. Go to www.derbytheatre.co.uk.