Harold Pinter is known to both British and American theater audiences as one of the most exciting and accomplished playwrights of our time. Betrayal is Pinter's latest full-length play since the enormous success of No Man's Land.
The play begins in 1977, with a meeting between adulterous lovers, Emma and Jerry, two years after their affair has ended. During the nine scenes of the play, we move back in time, through the stages of their affair, with the play ending in the house of Emma and Robert, her husband, who is Jerry's best friend.
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SCENE ONE Pub. 1977. Spring.
EMMA is sitting at a corner table. JERRY approaches with drinks, a pint of bitter for him, a glass of wine for her.
He sits. They smile, toast each other silently, drink.
He sits back and looks at her.
JERRY Well ...
EMMA How are you?
JERRY All right.
EMMA You look well.
JERRY Well, I'm not all that well, really.
EMMA Why? What's the matter?
He raises his glass.
How are you?
EMMA I'm fine.
She looks round the bar, back at him.
Just like old times.
JERRY Mmm. It's been a long time.
I thought of you the other day.
JERRY Good God. Why?
EMMA Well, it's nice, sometimes, to think back. Isn't it?
EMMA Oh, not too bad.
Do you know how long it is since we met?
JERRY Well I came to that private view, when was it —?
EMMA No, I don't mean that.
JERRY Oh you mean alone?
JERRY Uuh ...
EMMA Two years.
JERRY Yes, I thought it must be. Mmnn.
EMMA Long time.
JERRY Yes. It is.
How's it going? The Gallery?
EMMA How do you think it's going?
JERRY Well. Very well, I would say.
EMMA I'm glad you think so. Well, it is actually. I enjoy it.
JERRY Funny lot, painters, aren't they?
EMMA They're not at all funny.
JERRY Aren't they? What a pity.
EMMA When did you last see him?
JERRY I haven't seen him for months. Don't know why. Why?
EMMA Why what?
JERRY Why did you ask when I last saw him?
EMMA I just wondered. How's Sam?
JERRY You mean Judith.
EMMA Do I?
JERRY You remember the form. I ask about your husband, you ask about my wife.
EMMA Yes, of course. How is your wife?
JERRY All right.
EMMA Sam must be ... tall.
JERRY He is tall. Quite tall. Does a lot of running. He's a long distance runner. He wants to be a zoologist.
EMMA No, really? Good. And Sarah?
JERRY She's ten.
EMMA God. I suppose she must be.
JERRY Yes, she must be.
Ned's five, isn't he?
EMMA You remember.
JERRY Well, I would remember that.
You're all right, though?
JERRY Oh ... yes, sure.
EMMA Ever think of me?
JERRY I don't need to think of you.
JERRY I don't need to think of you.
Anyway I'm all right. How are you?
EMMA Fine, really. All right.
JERRY You're looking very pretty.
EMMA Really? Thank you. I'm glad to see you.
JERRY So am I. I mean to see you.
EMMA You think of me sometimes?
JERRY I think of you sometimes.
I saw Charlotte the other day.
EMMA No? Where? She didn't mention it.
JERRY She didn't see me. In the street.
EMMA But you haven't seen her for years.
JERRY I recognised her.
EMMA How could you? How could you know?
JERRY I did.
EMMA What did she look like?
EMMA No, what did you think of her, really?
JERRY I thought she was lovely.
EMMA Yes. She's very ... She's smashing. She's thirteen.
Do you remember that time ... oh God it was ... when you picked her up and threw her up and caught her?
JERRY She was very light.
EMMA She remembers that, you know.
EMMA Mmnn. Being thrown up.
JERRY What a memory.
She doesn't know ... about us, does she?
EMMA Of course not. She just remembers you, as an old friend.
JERRY That's right.
Yes, everyone was there that day, standing around, your husband, my wife, all the kids, I remember.
EMMA What day?
JERRY When I threw her up. It was in your kitchen.
EMMA It was in your kitchen.
EMMA Don't say that.
It all ...
JERRY Seems such a long time ago.
EMMA Does it?
JERRY Same again?
He takes the glasses, goes to the bar. She sits still. He returns, with the drinks, sits.
EMMA I thought of you the other day.
I was driving through Kilburn. Suddenly I saw where I was. I just stopped, and then I turned down Kinsale Drive and drove into Wessex Grove. I drove past the house and then stopped about fifty yards further on, like we used to do, do you remember?
EMMA People were coming out of the house. They walked up the road.
JERRY What sort of people?
EMMA Oh ... young people. Then I got out of the car and went up the steps. I looked at the bells, you know, the names on the bells. I looked for our name.
Couldn't see it, eh?
JERRY That's because we're not there any more. We haven't been there for years.
EMMA No we haven't.
JERRY I hear you're seeing a bit of Casey.
JERRY Casey. I just heard you were ... seeing a bit of him.
EMMA Where did you hear that?
JERRY Oh ... people ... talking.
JERRY The funny thing was that the only thing I really felt was irritation, I mean irritation that nobody gossiped about us like that, in the old days. I nearly said, now look, she may be having the occasional drink with Casey, who cares, but she and I had an affair for seven years and none of you bastards had the faintest idea it was happening.
EMMA I wonder. I wonder if everyone knew, all the time.
JERRY Don't be silly. We were brilliant. Nobody knew. Who ever went to Kilburn in those days? Just you and me.
Anyway, what's all this about you and Casey?
EMMA What do you mean?
JERRY What's going on?
EMMA We have the occasional drink.
JERRY I thought you didn't admire his work.
EMMA I've changed. Or his work has changed. Are you jealous?
JERRY Of what?
I couldn't be jealous of Casey. I'm his agent. I advised him about his divorce. I read all his first drafts. I persuaded your husband to publish his first novel. I escort him to Oxford to speak at the Union. He's my ... he's my boy. I discovered him when he was a poet, and that's a bloody long time ago now.
He's even taken me down to Southampton to meet his Mum and Dad. I couldn't be jealous of Casey. Anyway it's not as if we're having an affair now, is it? We haven't seen each other for years. Really, I'm very happy if you're happy.
What about Robert?
EMMA Well ... I think we're going to separate.
EMMA We had a long talk ... last night.
JERRY Last night?
EMMA You know what I found out ... last night? He's betrayed me for years. He's had ... other women for years.
JERRY No? Good Lord.
But we betrayed him for years.
EMMA And he betrayed me for years.
JERRY Well I never knew that.
EMMA Nor did I.
JERRY Does Casey know about this?
EMMA I wish you wouldn't keep calling him Casey. His name is Roger.
JERRY Yes. Roger.
EMMA I phoned you. I don't know why.
JERRY What a funny thing. We were such close friends, weren't we? Robert and me, even though I haven't seen him for a few months, but through all those years, all the drinks, all the lunches ... we had together, I never even gleaned ... I never suspected ... that there was anyone else ... in his life but you. Never. For example, when you're with a fellow in a pub, or a restaurant, for example, from time to time he pops out for a piss, you see, who doesn't, but what I mean is, if he's making a crafty telephone call, you can sort of sense it. Well, I never did that with Robert. He never made any crafty telephone calls in any pub I was ever with him in. The funny thing is that it was me who made the calls — to you, when I left him boozing at the bar. That's the funny thing.
When did he tell you all this?
EMMA Last night. I think we were up all night.
JERRY You talked all night?
EMMA Yes. Oh yes.
JERRY I didn't come into it, did I?
JERRY I just —
EMMA I just phoned you this morning, you know, that's all, because I ... because we're old friends ... I've been up all night ... the whole thing's finished ... I suddenly felt I wanted to see you.
JERRY Well, look, I'm happy to see you. I am. I'm sorry ... about ...
EMMA Do you remember? I mean, you do remember?
JERRY I remember.
EMMA You couldn't really afford Wessex Grove when we took it, could you?
JERRY Oh, love finds a way.
EMMA I bought the curtains.
JERRY You found a way.
EMMA Listen, I didn't want to see you for nostalgia, I mean what's the point? I just wanted to see how you were. Truly. How are you?
JERRY Oh what does it matter?
You didn't tell Robert about me last night, did you?
EMMA I had to.
He told me everything. I told him everything. We were up ... all night. At one point Ned came down. I had to take him up to bed, had to put him back to bed. Then I went down again. I think it was the voices woke him up. You know ...
JERRY You told him everything?
EMMA I had to.
JERRY You told him everything ... about us?
EMMA I had to.
JERRY But he's my oldest friend. I mean, I picked his own daughter up in my own arms and threw her up and caught her, in my kitchen. He watched me do it.
EMMA It doesn't matter. It's all gone.
JERRY Is it? What has?
EMMA It's all all over.
She drinks.CHAPTER 2
Jerry's House. Study. 1977. Spring.
Jerry sitting. ROBERT standing, with glass.
JERRY It's good of you to come.
ROBERT Not at all.
JERRY Yes, yes, I know it was difficult ... I know ... the kids ...
ROBERT It's all right. It sounded urgent.
JERRY Well ... You found someone, did you?
JERRY For the kids.
ROBERT Yes, yes. Honestly. Everything's in order. Anyway, Charlotte's not a baby.
Are you going to sit down?
ROBERT Well, I might, yes, in a minute.
JERRY Judith's at the hospital ... on night duty. The kids are ... here ... upstairs.
ROBERT Uh — huh.
JERRY I must speak to you. It's important.
ROBERT You look quite rough.
What's the trouble?
It's not about you and Emma, is it?
I know all about that.
JERRY Yes. So I've ... been told.
Well, it's not very important, is it? Been over for years, hasn't it?
JERRY It is important.
ROBERT Really? Why?
Jerry stands, walks about.
JERRY I thought I was going to go mad.
JERRY This evening. Just now. Wondering whether to phone you. I had to phone you. It took me ... two hours to phone you. And then you were with the kids ... I thought I wasn't going to be able to see you ... I thought I'd go mad. I'm very grateful to you ... for coming.
ROBERT Oh for God's sake! Look, what exactly do you want to say?
JERRY I don't know why she told you. I don't know how she could tell you. I just don't understand. Listen, I know you've got ... look, I saw her today ... we had a drink ... I haven't seen her for ... she told me, you know, that you're in trouble, both of you ... and so on. I know that. I mean I'm sorry.
ROBERT Don't be sorry.
JERRY Why not?
The fact is I can't understand ... why she thought it necessary ... after all these years ... to tell you ... so suddenly ... last night ...
ROBERT Last night?
JERRY Without consulting me. Without even warning me.
After all, you and me ...
ROBERT She didn't tell me last night.
JERRY What do you mean?
I know about last night. She told me about it. You were up all night, weren't you?
ROBERT That's correct.
JERRY And she told you ... last night ... about her and me.
Did she not?
ROBERT No, she didn't. She didn't tell me about you and her last night. She told me about you and her four years ago.
So she didn't have to tell me again last night. Because I knew. And she knew I knew because she told me herself four years ago.
ROBERT I think I will sit down.
I thought you knew.
JERRY Knew what?
ROBERT That I knew. That I've known for years. I thought you knew that.
JERRY You thought I knew?
ROBERT She said you didn't. But I didn't believe that.
Anyway I think I thought you knew. But you say you didn't?
JERRY She told you ... when?
ROBERT Well, I found out. That's what happened. I told her I'd found out and then she ... confirmed ... the facts.
ROBERT Oh, a long time ago, Jerry.
JERRY But we've seen each other ... a great deal ... over the last four years. We've had lunch.
ROBERT Never played squash though.
JERRY I was your best friend.
ROBERT Well, yes, sure.
Jerry stares at him and then holds his head in his hands.
Oh, don't get upset. There's no point.
Jerry sits up.
JERRY Why didn't she tell me?
ROBERT Well, I'm not her, old boy.
JERRY Why didn't you tell me?
ROBERT I thought you might know.
JERRY But you didn't know for certain, did you? You didn't know!
JERRY Then why didn't you tell me?
ROBERT Tell you what?
JERRY That you knew. You bastard.
ROBERT Oh, don't call me a bastard, Jerry.
JERRY What are we going to do?
ROBERT You and I are not going to do anything. My marriage is finished. I've just got to make proper arrangements, that's all. About the children.
JERRY You hadn't thought of telling Judith?
ROBERT Telling Judith what? Oh, about you and Emma. You mean she never knew? Are you quite sure?
No, I hadn't thought of telling Judith, actually. You don't seem to understand. You don't seem to understand that I don't give a shit about any of this. It's true I've hit Emma once or twice. But that wasn't to defend a principle. I wasn't inspired to do it from any kind of moral standpoint. I just felt like giving her a good bashing. The old itch ... you understand.
JERRY But you betrayed her for years, didn't you?
ROBERT Oh yes.
JERRY And she never knew about it. Did she?
ROBERT Didn't she?
JERRY I didn't.
ROBERT No, you didn't know very much about anything, really, did you?
ROBERT Yes you did.
JERRY Yes I did. I lived with her.
ROBERT Yes. In the afternoons.
JERRY Sometimes very long ones. For seven years.
ROBERT Yes, you certainly knew all there was to know about that. About the seven years of afternoons. I don't know anything about that.
I hope she looked after you all right.
JERRY We used to like each other.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Betrayal"
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