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First produced in London in the early 1980s, the play was a critical and popular success on both sides of the Atlantic. It was the winner of the New York of the Drama Critics Circle Award as best foreign play and in London of the West End Award as best play of the season. Betrayal begins in the present, with the meeting of Emma and Jerry, whose adulterous affair of seven years ended two years earlier. Emma’s marriage to Robert, Jerry’s best friend, is now breaking up, and she needs someone to talk to. Their reminiscences reveal that Robert knew of their affair all along and, to Jerry’s dismay, regarded it with total nonchalance. Thereafter, in a series of contiguous scenes, the play moves backward in time, from the end of the Emma-Jerry affair to its beginning, throwing into relief the little lies and oblique remarks that, in this time-reverse, reveal more than direct statements, or overt actions, ever could.
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