Intense and Edifying: Whitmore Eclectic's 'Betrayed' at Lyric Theatre

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Andrew Patton, Peter Sabri, Pasha Bocarie, and Aliah Whitmore in 'Betrayed' (Photo by Robert Fabiani).

New Yorker journalist George Packer's engrossing Iraq War drama Betrayed is in its last weekend at Lyric Theatre. Packer's not-to-be-missed work is based on true accounts of Iraqi citizens working as translators in the Green Zone. Betrayed illustrates the dangerous dual lives of Iraqis employed by the United States government as they literally risk life and limb out of hope for a viable future. The play succinctly addresses the political and ethical dilemmas of the United States occupation in Iraq, humanely dealing with all-encompassing, inherent tragedy. This Whitmore Eclectic production brims with fascinating characters and dialog presented through talented performers and direction.

Betrayed is perfectly cast. Pasha Bocarie and Peter Sabri lead the production and have an excellent, strong, and complementary stage rapport that conveys the deep and unconditional friendship that their characters share. Bocarie is thoughtful, warm, generous, and compassionate as central character Adnan. Sabri renders the role of Laith energetically, knowingly, and with touch of humor. Aliah Whitmore is stunning as Intisar. She fills the stage with exacting intensity and cautionary courage. Andrew Patton has a more subtle role as Prescott, but he skillfully breathes authenticity and empathy into the character.

Director Andre Verderame does justice to the genuine narratives that Packer presents in Betrayed by forging a transportive production that feels as though events are occurring in real-time right on the stage. At times, essential elements of Betrayed are frightening, sad, and grisly; but ultimately engaging, tasteful, and utterly absorbing. A talented supporting cast (Dustin Seavey, Tim Dezarin, Robert Fabiani), and high quality set, sound, multimedia, and lighting design bring multitudes to the show.

Betrayed is playing at Lyric Theatre through November 13, 2011. Tickets are $20 and available online, at the box office, or via phone at 818-826-3609.