At Scrabble last week Rose was telling us about the play she had just seen, Betrayal by Harold Pinter. “It was terrific. I highly recommend it. In fact, I went to see it twice.”
“You went to see it twice?” I asked.
“Yes,” said Rose, laying out the word jerboa, a small, leaping rodent of northern Africa. “I see everything the Aurora Theatre produces. If I like it, then I tell my friends and I go again with them. They can’t stay up late and they don’t want to waste time if it’s not really super. You know how some older people are.”
“Wasn’t it outdated? I read the reviews and it sounded like it might be stuck in time.”
“Not at all,” said Rose. “You should see it. Thirty points, by the way. Make sure you write that down.”
Several days later, my friend Jane Juska called to say she had an extra ticket for Betrayal. Would I like to join her?
“Sure,” I said.
“Meet me at the restaurant Downtown on the corner of Shattuck and Addison. It’s a Pinter play, so we need to drink before we go.”
Over martinis and fluffy house-made potato chips, Jane and I caught up. She had just returned from England, her second trip there since her book, A Round Heeled Woman: My Late-Life Adventures in Sex and Romance, (Villard 2003), was published. This last visit was to promote the paperback edition. Vintage press had sold 33,000 British copies in the first week.
A Round Heeled Woman is about the bedroom adventures of a woman of a certain age, kind of a nonfiction Bridget Jones for the over sixties set. Jane has been crisscrossing the country, and the Atlantic, for almost eighteen months now, spreading the word that sex isn’t just for whippersnappers.
“Not a novel idea,” says Jane, “yet I meet single older women everywhere who are frustrated, who want more out of life than playing with their grandchildren. My book is dedicated to them.”
Indeed, at a reading I attended at 2nd Edition Books (now called a Great Good Place for Books) in Montclair last year the room was packed with middle-aged women all anxious to hear Jane’s story.
“Are you still seeing some of the men you wrote about?” they asked.
“Yes,” said Jane. “And others as well.”
“Are you having fun?” the crowd wanted to know.
“You betcha,” said Jane.
Back at Downtown, Jane looked at her watch. “Drink up,” she said, “it’s show time.”
We hurried over to the Aurora just in time to find our seats. The lights went dim and the play began. Halfway through the production I heard a soft, saw-like noise to my right. Beside me a woman was asleep, her head forward and tilted to the left. But after two cups of coffee at 6 p.m. in order to get ready for two martinis at 7 p.m. in order to get ready for Harold Pinter and Jane, I was wide awake.
“That was great,” I said to Jane when the was play over. “Did you enjoy it?”
“Yes,” she said, “but really, what was the point? Four friends, two marriages, four children, several affairs, I mean where’s the meaning?
“I don’t know if there was supposed to be a meaning. It’s just a slice of life tale, an inside view of several relationships. It’s true, you know, Pinter wrote it about himself. It’s a deconstruction of an affair he had for seven years. The point is…”
“Wait,” said Jane, putting on her coat, “my point is.. oh damn, what was that point I was going to make? It’s gone. Maybe it will come back to me. Tell me your point.”
“My point is… is… God, I can’t remember what my point was either.”
“The hell with it,” said Jane, walking toward her car. “The point is we finally got together. The point is we’re friends and we spent a lovely evening with each other. The point is we stayed awake through the whole damn production, didn’t we?”
“You betcha,” I said.
Betrayal, written by Harold Pinter, directed by Tom Ross, has been extended through August 1. For more information contact the Aurora Theatre: 843.4822 or www.auroratheatre.org.