The Malta Independent 22 March 2023, Wednesday
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Affair meets revelation in Harold Pinter's betrayal

Tuesday, 10 January 2023, 13:58 Last update: about 3 months ago

As Masquerade Malta celebrates both its 25th anniversary and the 10th anniversary of its intimate theatre Blue Box at M Space, rehearsals are underway for Harold Pinter’s masterpiece Betrayal, to be performed at the end of the month. Here, the cast of three – Edward Caruana Galizia, Naomi Said and Nicholas Jackman – talk about the process of bringing Pinter’s devasting dissection of a love triangle to life.

It has been a busy few months for Masquerade Malta. The curtain will come down today on Ċikku and the Chocolate Panto; yet, while the Christmas show was being performed, actors Edward Caruana Galizia, Naomi Said and Nicholas Jackman were rehearsing for Betrayal, a tender and moving tale of relationships and adultery, under Ian Moore's direction.

The plot covers a love triangle involving married couple, Emma (Said) and Robert (Jackman), and Robert's friend Jerry (Caruana Galizia), who is also married. "Jerry is a man of the modern world, struggling to come to terms with the way the world has changed in terms of the roles of men and women in marriages," says Caruana Galizia. "His father worked, and his mother was always available, whereas his wife is always busy and working. Although a smart individual, this shift in 'traditional' roles has Jerry questioning why relationships with women don't work out the way he expects them to."


"Emma has one desire: to find the kind of unconditional love that has eluded her in her marriage," explains Said of her character. "The grey moral areas humanity tends to tap into are very evident in her behaviour, but there is something relatable when you strip her actions down to her core needs."

On the other hand, Jackman believes Robert really has it all. "He owns a lovely house and has a successful career - plus a hot wife, a really cool best friend and time for his favourite hobby, squash, too. Yet, he soon discovers that the reality of keeping it all is not as simple as he thinks it is," he says.

"Character development is always my favourite part of the rehearsal process - and with these wonderfully complicated characters there is plenty to delve into in each scene," shares Said. "The deep discussions on background are vital for me, as is approaching the character with no judgement whatsoever, while trying to understand her actions and intentions and searching for common ground between her and me."

"Becoming Robert is a gift," confesses Jackman. "I have to rub my eyes sometimes to make sure I'm awake because it is indeed a dream role, deserving dream performances. Naomi holding me as my wife, Emma, and the laughter I share with Ed as Jerry feels so true. Being believable and manifesting Pinter's incredible drama to delight, excite and move our audiences is the challenge we three are facing."

Richly layered characters, ever searching for the elusive 'truth' in their lives, are just one aspect of Pinter's works. Also typical to many a Pinter play, the power of the story lies not just in what is said but also what is not said by the characters on stage. This leaves much to the audience's imagination, promising an intimate and thought-provoking theatre experience - while presenting an additional challenge to the actors. "With this production it's not only about learning lines but also literally about learning pauses," explains Caruana Galizia. "Pinter is, of course, famous for writing in pauses in his scripts, as well as the lines. So they are equally important to get right."

At its core, Betrayal deals with some basic human needs, the choices - even hurtful ones - that people make that affect the ones they love, and the struggle to fully comprehend their actions and intentions. "The play sheds light on the more intimate aspects of these struggles," muses Caruana Galizia. "As a postmodern play, it lets us in on aspects of the relationships it spotlights that most people are not privy to. The idea of having an affair is remote for most of us, and yet here we see how one may pan out and how expectations of the arrangement may differ between the partners, without being judgemental or condescending." 

"We take a very intimate look at three individuals inexorably entangled in a web of desire, love, selfishness and lies," adds Said. "I'm curious to see what audiences take away from it as I'm sure reactions will differ, depending on which character they relate to the most."

"I'm really looking forward to welcoming audiences to Betrayal," concludes Jackman. "I wish them a wonderful theatre experience and invite them to come alone or share this time with others. We're on for six nights; make one of them the highlight of your year!"


Performances of Betrayal will take place on 20-22 and 26-29 January 2023 at Blue Box at M Space, Msida. For more information and to book tickets, visit


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