Disrespect is crucial in producing “Betrayal” because it makes or breaks the play. Without disrespect, there would be no affair at all. These characters would have nothing to discuss besides new talents and their children. I think that Pinter is trying to stir up his audience by utilizing disrespect. What I’m saying is that this play has been the only play we read all semester with no real tragedy or deaths making it very realistic. Pinter could have Robert kill Jerry or Emma for betraying him, but he chooses to make Robert more realistic and that shows how society responds to situations like this most of the time. The thing that Pinter does different is that he makes Robert just as disrespectful as Jerry and Emma. In the following I will be describing my way of presenting this play through casting, acting style, costume, and lighting.
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I envision all three of these characters dressed very proper and expensive. Jerry would look like a somewhat weak character but deceiving. Robert would be a much physically stronger man, with not much charm. And Emma would be a very beautiful woman with silk white skin and beautiful flowing hair. Her looks are deceiving.
I think Hugh Grant would play a good Jerry because he usually plays a somewhat ditsy but charming character. He also seems to play characters that say the wrong thing at the wrong time, and we know Jerry fits that profile.
I would also cast the part of Robert, to Russell Crowe. I think that he would play a good Robert because I think that Robert has similar characteristics to the gladiator, in the movie ”Gladiator”. He compares to the gladiator in the sense that he has this underestimated ability to be mentally stronger than most people. He’s usually a very calm, cool, and intelligent character as well.
For Emma, I would cast Nicole Kidman. She’s very independent looking and can play the part of a “want to be” upper class character, like she did in “Moulin Rouge”. Nicole Kidman also has a very deceiving look with her red hair and I think that would play as a good factor too.
I really based all these choices on the characters’ tone of voice when speaking. All present this different but similar type of tone that’s kind of stuck up in a way that makes them come across as disrespectful people. In Robert’s case his voice is deeper and darker and presents a little bit of fear to others. He says things very unemotional when speaking. This is demonstrated when he says, “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 form any kind of standpoint. I just felt like giving her a good bashing”(41). For Robert to do things like this is very disrespectful toward Emma and his marriage. It also shows that he can commit these heartless acts with no remorse.
Tone is extremely important in expressing how each character is being disrespectful. Even if the words are not meant to be blatantly disrespectful, good actors can make them seem that way. To prove that Hugh Grant would play a good Jerry, we go back to a quote we talked about earlier. Jerry says, “That you knew. You bastard”(40). Hugh Grant would say this with a confused demeanor. It would be said in such a way that we would interpret it as “Why the hell are you not angry with me?” It would almost be as if he has a questioning look on his face that makes him think about why he’s angry and calling him a bastard. And again like I said in the last paragraph, Robert’s response is said very calmly, “Oh, don’t call me bastard, Jerry.” Almost like its even humorous to him in a way. Then Jerry acting like a teenager in love says, “What are we going to do?” He’s acting like Robert really means something to him. His tone is acknowledged as being deceiving and disrespectful.
In Emma’s case, her tone is disrespectful when she responds from Roberts question, “He wasn’t the best man at our wedding, was he”(83)? And she says, “You know he was.” This would be as if she was saying that Jerry was the better man in general. Also like saying that Robert is really a nothing to her.
The next thing I want to talk about is costume. It’s important to show that these characters are dressed to disrespect. There costumes should also reflect their tones as well.
In the scene where Jerry and Robert meet for a drink at the restaurant, both would be over dressed compared to the waiter who would be dressed nice but not as expensive as the two of them. Robert’s attire would give the sense that he is better than everyone one else, and that he is flawless. Robert would be dressed the simplest but only to emphasize his personality. I would have him in a suede V-Neck sweater of a rich mahogany complexion, with black seamless pants, and dressy black zip-up boots. We would also see Robert wearing heavy gold rings to help present his value.
Jerry would be wearing a very expensive suit, with a black jacket and black pants, with a flamboyantly colorful tie, and a white shirt. He would also be wearing a dark pair of sunglasses and firm black shoes. He would appear as a very stiff but out going person because of his tie. He would also never remove his sunglasses in public making sure he doesn’t make any eye contact with that person. When the waiter speaks both men talk down to him and don’t even look him in the eye.
Emma would be dressed very disrespectful to herself and to her marriage. When she meets with Jerry for the first time in two years, she would be wearing a tight, short, lace like, red dress. She would stand out in a crowd with lots of cleavage showing. This would express to the audience that Emma is one to get around. All in all this would emphasize to the audience that costume also plays a role in staging disrespect as a theme.
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