Performing Arts

Betrayal: Joe Hasham Brings Harold Pinter to a Malay Audience

Nobel Prize Literature winner, Harold Pinter, has been a huge influence on the British dramatist theatre scene, and multi-award winning director, Joe Hasham OAM feels like it’s time to bring that influence to a larger, local audience.

Executive Producer: Dato’ Faridah Merican
Artistic Director: Joe Hasham OAM
Lighting Designer: Yusman
Sound Engineer: Khairil Iman
Costume Designer: Dominique Devorsine
Set Designer: Paul Hasham
Cast: Razif Hashim, Stephanie Van Driesen, Omar Ali and Jad Hidhir

Betrayal is a play about the blurry confines of love and deceit, as the three characters learn that their lover has betrayed them. A captivating story about a love triangle between Emma, her husband Robert and his best friend Jerry.  True to the intriguing style of Harold Printer, the story is told in reverse chronology without coming off at the expense of emotional suspense. “Betrayal is a play which begins at the end of the story and ends at the beginning of the story. Only a genius can come up with something like that,” Joe quips.

The cast of the play, Razif Hashim (Jerry), Stephanie Van Driesen (Emma),  and Omar Ali (Robert), carry their roles with amazing nuance and subtlety. As the play slowly unravels itself to show the origins of each character’s motivation: every beat was met with precision, every intensity was delivered with gusto.

The staging is made more interesting with the music that punctuates each scene. It adds volume and depth to the play in ways more than just the aesthetic.  The overall theme of the performance is gilded by the song choices. Each song represents the act following it, not just in the year that the song was released; occasionally the content of the next act is hinted in the lyrics too.

As aforementioned, Betrayal will also be shown in Malay. In a society where most local dramas push the limit of extreme and loud emotions – where the severity of a scene is proportional to the volume of the voice or hand gestures – it would be intriguing to see small expressions with grand consequences that seem to emanate from Harold Pinter’s work.

A solid cast and a powerful production to the straightforward yet innovative storytelling of Harold Pinter promises an amazing show. Maybe due to the minimal nature of the play, its exploration of the human psyche and the intricacies of love won’t resonate as loud as it should. Yet all of that notwithstanding, Betrayal would still be a wonderful sight to behold.

Go on and catch it at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre when you can! The play will be staged from the 19th of May to the 4th of June.  The Malay and English Performances will be shown alternately.

English Performances: 19, 24, 26, 28, 31 May, 2, 4 June @ 8.30pm; 21 May @ 3pm
BM Performances: 20, 25, 27 May; 1, 3 June @ 8.30pm

For more information on the production, head to the Facebook page for Betrayal, directed by Joe Hasham.

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