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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

When time deceives, in stories that run backward

‘You have to listen like a hawk, and you are swimming in sort of an aquarium of uncertainty all the time.”

The celebrated English director Maria Aitken is describing the 1978 Harold Pinter play “Betrayal,” which she’s helming for the Huntington Theatre Company, where performances run Friday through Dec. 9. The play begins in 1977 and concludes in 1968, tracing its arc backward. We start with Emma — whose marriage to Robert is breaking up — meeting her former lover Jerry for a drink, and reflecting on their years-long affair. We end with the beginning of that affair, a party at which Jerry, who was best man at Emma and Robert’s wedding, tells her he’s crazy about her.

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