Brief Encounter is a unique and highly theatrical piece of work that, while culling material from several sources, can always be traced back to the singular mind of Noël Coward. In 1936, Coward decided to write several one-act plays that he could perform with his good friend Gertrude Lawrence, which were put together for an evening of theatre entitled Tonight at 8:30. Among these short plays was Still Life, a piece taking place in a rail station that followed the story of Laura, a mother, and Alec, a doctor, whose casual first encounter leads to an unexpected romance that, for these two already-married characters, would bring passion and unhappiness in equal parts. In 1944, director David Lean wanted to put the play on screen, so Coward expanded the story into a full screenplay, which became the beloved film Brief Encounter. Decades later, director Emma Rice and her Kneehigh Theatre decided to bring the story of Laura and Alec back to the stage. Emma has crafted a script that pulls from Coward’s play and screenplay, as well as his amazing treasure trove of songs and poems. This new creation manages to be both utterly true to the spirit of Coward and constantly surprising in its wildly imaginative way of presenting this love story.
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2010-2011 Season, Brief Encounter