Around the Hood: Betrayal Opens at The Raven in Edgewater Glen This Week

The production will be directed by Lauren Shouse, formerly an artistic associate at Nashville Rep where she directed Rapture, Blister, Burn; Superior Donuts; and A Christmas Story. Shouse holds an MFA in directing from Northwestern University, where she has directed In The Next Room or the Vibrator Play and Eurydice. As an assistant director, she has worked with Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, and Northlight Theatre, and is currently literary manager at Northlight Theatre.

The Pinter classic concerns the nine-year affair between Emma, the wife of a London book publisher, and Jerry – a successful, married literary agent who is her husband’s best friend. The cast includes Abigail Boucher (Emma), Keith Neagle (Robert), Sam Guinan-Nyhart (Jerry), and in a cameo role as the waiter, Richard Cotovsky, founder and Artistic Director of Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company.

Boucher, an emeritus member of the Strawdog Theatre Company, has recently won praise for Raven’s A Loss of Roses and Profiles Theatre’s The Cryptogram. Neagle, who will play Boucher’s stage husband Robert, has been busy in several high profile productions of the past year, including You Can’t Take It with You (Northlight) and Richard III (The Gift). Sam Guinan-Nyhart, playing the friend with whom Boucher’s Emma has the affair, last appeared in Griffin Theatre’s acclaimed Pocatello, Cor Theatre’s Love and Human Remains and Strawdog’s The Sweeter Option.

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While Betrayal is a well-known play and one of Pinter’s most accessible works, it has not received a major production in Chicago since Steppenwolf’s staging directed by Rick Snyder nearly 10 years ago. Shouse says she was attracted to the project for reasons beyond her love of the text. “I think there’s a unique and almost unprecedented opportunity to tell this story from a woman’s perspective,” Shouse explains. “Betrayal’s major productions have, to my knowledge, mostly been directed by men – from its world premiere in London and Broadway premiere both directed by Peter Hall, the Broadway revivals directed by David Leveaux and Mike Nichols and even the film version directed by David Jones. I think this is surprising given that Emma, the sole woman in the piece, is the character who grows the most and has the most to lose. Together with my mostly-female design team, we’re anxious to tell the story from Emma’s point of view. Additionally, the intimacy of Raven’s West Stage will add an extra dimension as well, giving the audience a sensation of eavesdropping on the characters and even being present in the room where secrets are both kept and revealed.”

Shouse’s design team includes Lauren Nigri (scenic design), Becca Jeffords (lighting design), Stephanie Cluggish (costume design), Kevin O’Donnell (sound design), Clara Wendland and Mary O’Dowd (properties design), and Eileen Rozycki (scenic artist). The production team also includes Shannon Golden (stage manager), AJ Roy (assistant director), Leni Morales (assistant stage manager), Diane D. Fairchild and Marissa Geocaris (master electricians) and Aram Monisoff (dialect coach).

A thoughtful, rich play about a common theme of human existence – the difficulty in maintaining honest relationships with those close to us – Betrayal is known for its unique structure, telling the story backwards in time, with the play beginning at the end of the affair and ending as the affair is about to begin. Betrayal has been produced three times on Broadway. Its most recent revival was in 2013-14 and was the last Broadway play directed by Mike Nichols. The 1983 film version starred Jeremy Irons, Ben Kingsley and Patricia Hodge.

You can buy tickets here