Boy meets girl at train station. Boy and girl fall in love on the spot. Boy and girl are already in other relationships. Tortured affair ensues.
Set at a railway station in 1938 England, the play centers around Laura, a bored and beautiful housewife, and Alec, the hot doctor in town. The pair bump into other when Laura gets a speck of dirt stuck in her eye. How convenient. That leads to a polite cup of tea..then a movie...just as "friends." Too bad for that whole "married" thing.
Emma Rice is Artistic Director of the Cornwall, England based Kneehigh Theatre Company. She says, "Brief Encounter itself is a phenomenal portrait of the struggle of trying to be good against different instincts." Rice adapted the show from the 1946 film of the same name and based on Still Life, a Noël Coward one-act play. She also added some original stage elements back in, like music, that got scrapped in the movie.
"It’s one of the best-loved film in Britain, and I'm going to make a play out of it," she says. "The one thing I'm not going to do is pretend that it hasn't been a film. And I'm also not going to deny the fact we're in a theater."
Scenes go back-and-forth from the stage to remade black-and-white footage, giving it an old-timey feel. At various points, actors even climb into the screens, very much in the vein of A-Ha's "Take On Me" video.
To Rice, "It's about impossible love, it's about first love and it's about second-round time love – all its joys and all its miseries."
Brief Encounter runs through January 3.