RUBICON, Move Over James Bond, “Girls Are Players Too”, Thru March 10th, LLD Review

By Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media

How Lucky is Denver to not only host the world premiere of Rubicon but to also have developed it as part of the Denver Center Theatre Company’s Colorado New Play Summit. This intriguing, fascinating and yes , at times humorous, production is the true story of an unsung and long forgotten, World War II spy, Betty Pack, who used her sexual prowess to seduce sensitive, war changing, information out of unsuspecting powerful men who saw her as a conquest, a love interest and a trophy. But her biggest prize may also have been her demise.

While the fictional James Bond is a British series of spy films based on the fictional character of MI6 agent James Bond, “007”, who originally appeared in a series of books by Ian Fleming,Betty Pack was the real deal.


She served in both British MI6, (Military Intelligence, Section 6) the central British government agency responsible for the collection,analysis, espionage, and appropriate dissemination of foreign intelligence and the American OSS, (Office of Strategic Services) the intelligence agency of the United States during World War II, formed to coordinate espionage activities behind enemy lines for all branches of the United States Armed Forces.

Betty, Amy Elizabeth Thorpe, was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. While she was born into a family of privilege, she was a nobody, just a pretty face. She quickly learned that her looks and her quick wit could take her places. And that it did. Tall, slim, and privileged, her emerald green eyes sparkled, her laugh naughty and uninhibited, who as the agent code-named “Cynthia” had time after time had used the bedroom to turn high-ranking diplomats and military officials into traitors.

No one could have predicted the sensational, and risky, way her life would unfold as a spy for the British and American governments in World War II. Her escapades took her from Washington, DC to Chile, Spain, France and Poland.  ‘Rubicon’ is defined as the act that commits someone to a particular course; point of no return: Once committed to a life of espionage, at the price of sacrificing marriage and motherhood, there was no turning back for Betty Pack.

The fictional Bond Characters are portrayed as debonair playboys who are admired for their sexual prowess but the real Betty Pack was portrayed as a whore and a slut by the men she manipulated. As a result she has been largely ignored in American history. But, Betty Pack, has no regrets for about her service to the American and British efforts to turn and ultimately win World War II while saving thousands of lives in the process

Starting in the years leading up to World War II, the plot follows Elizabeth “Betty” Pack as she transitions from society wife and mother to steely, seductive agent for British and American Intelligence. As missions take her from Madrid to Warsaw to Washington, Betty uses her charm, beauty, and intellect as tools of espionage, leveraging her sexuality to influence global affairs.

There is a study guide, Inside Out, that will definitely help viewers understand the intricacies of the events and journey Betty, Amy Elizabeth Thorpe, took. I highly recommend reading this guide as it offers much insight into Betty’s upbringing and development as well as to the conditions that required her services.

Playwright Kirsten Potter talks about the development of Rubicon as part of the 2022 Colorado New Play Summit

The following Excerpt from The Last Goodnight: A World War II Story of Espionage, Adventure, and Betrayal. Copyright © 2016 best describes her most significant achievement as a spy. One that changed the world but may have cost her the career she so much enjoyed, in more ways than one.

“Betty was the rare operative who worked for both intelligence services – for the first time in her long operational career she was troubled about what she’d been asked to do.

She understood the importance of her mission. The war had not been going well. The British were still reeling from their army’s desperate evacuations from France, Greece, and Norway. America, just three months after Pearl Harbor, had begun its counter-offensive against Japan with costly and mixed results. And now the Allies were heatedly debating whether to launch their first joint attack against Hitler with an invasion of North Africa. At stake would be nothing less than the future course of the war.

Fourth Generation Northsider, Meghan Anderson Doyle is the costume designer for Rubicon. She is currently in her seventeenth season as a costume design associate for the Denver Center for Performing Arts. She is committed to anti-racism, equitable practices on stage and off, and celebrating her community. She was raised on the traditional land of the Cheyenne , Arapaho and Ute people of Colorado.

Surprise would be a crucial element if the invasion were to succeed. If the Allied strategists knew the movements of the enemy fleet in the Mediterranean, if they could accurately direct bombers to their targets, it would be invaluable in deciding the timing and locations of the landings. It would help ensure that the Allied troops did not charge ashore onto the beaches of Africa and run straight into a fusillade of enemy fire.

And the code books used for communicating with the entire fleet that protected the coast of North Africa, ciphers that were the keys to a kingdom of secrets, were in the safe of the Vichy French embassy in Washington.

With the collapse of France in the summer of 1940, the country had been divided. Paris and the surrounding northern districts were placed under the harsh administration of the conquering Nazi forces. The central and southern provinces functioned, under Germany’s ever-watchful eye, as a quasi-independent version of the of the former French state; it was known as Vichy France, after the town, celebrated for its palliative mineral water, that was now the seat of government.


While Vichy behaved in every discernible way as a Nazi puppet state, Germany nevertheless allowed it to maintain France’s overseas diplomatic missions. It ran a busy embassy in Washington; even after America had gone to war against the Axis powers, its relationship with Vichy was still officially “neutral.”

Betty’s assignment was to steal the Vichy ciphers. The books that held the codes.

The British and American spymasters had ordered “Cynthia” to penetrate the Vichy embassy – a fortress of armed guards, steel doors, and locked safes – and make off with its most closely guarded secrets.

It was a seemingly impossible mission, but with so much at stake, Betty, as she wrote in her memoirs now in the archives of Churchill College, Cambridge, had boldly announced to her handlers, “I can. And I will.” But it was only in the aftermath of that rash pledge that an even more precarious operation began to take shape in her mind: She would need the help of the one person she loved, the object, Betty would say, of the only “complete love”, she had ever experienced. Now she’d need to manipulate his allegiances, betray his unwavering trust, and, not least, put him in grave danger.” What follows would be considered unbelievable, but it is true.

To find out how it all turns out you will just have to see Rubicon.

Rubicon plays the Kilstom Theatre at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts through March 10, 2024