After a BRIEF ENCOUNTER at Studio 54, I'm compelled to share my experience of a tender, tragic and touching love affair...
No, I'm not talking about a late night hook-up I had at a club. I'm talking about the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of the Noël Coward's beautifully written play, BRIEF ENCOUNTER, which runs through to December 5, 2010 at Studio 54 on Broadway.
Director Emma Rice's Broadway stage adaptation (first produced in 2008 at The Kneehigh Theatre) of the beloved 1945 film, BRIEF ENCOUNTER, is brilliantly crafted to capture the essence of the mind-blowing wonder, intensity and confusion that accompanies the chance connection of two married people who fall in love with each other.
Laura (Hannah Yelland) and Alec (Tristan Sturrock) fall in love when a chance meeting at a train station brings them together. But this is not a simple romance. Both are already married when they meet. They tussle with the essential question of how handle the intensity of their feelings for each other within the constrictions of social expectations. Their romance defies reason and unravels their previous notions about what matters in life and challenges the ideals that used to seem so simple and clear to each of them. This production takes the audience through every possible emotion associated with the complexity of these peoples' struggle to do the right thing, honor their love for one another, while staying true to the brilliant connection and passion they have found.
Full of the heartbreaking twist and turns inherent to falling in love outside marriage, Broadway's BRIEF ENCOUNTER is a marvel, capturing the unfathomable yearnings of true love under conditions that make it’s unbridled expression egregious. It's not often that a story of this kind is told with such keen sensitivity to the humanness of the people involved, and with an understanding of the emotional roller-coaster that come with (and between) a romance under these circumstances.
The dream-like quality of this production captures the essence of romance movie magic, tragic unrelenting love and theatrical drama by artfully merging both film and theatrical techniques (film, screens, music, puppets, creative choreography and staging - both dance and creative movement, musical numbers, multi-level moving sets, brilliant lighting, soaring underscoring, montage sequences, and exquisite acting).
The complexity of the production mirrors the complex human struggles of the story line. It is sheer genius.