34west got some HUGE inspiration this week with the most marvelous play I've seen in a long time playing over at Studio 54, NYC.
Kneehigh Theatre presents Noel Coward's Brief Encounter - twisting and rattling every preconceived idea of how to stage a romantic drama.
The story is adapted from the 1946 film and also from the one-act play entitled "Still Life".
But here's the thing...
With the assistance of a finely tuned bluegrass ensemble, a versatile acting troupe, and some brilliant video projection- this tragic love affair sparkles with fantasy, farce, and believe it or not-- hopefulness.
At one moment the actors are flying through the air and the next they're pushing make-shift mops around to resemble house pets. Creativity and craftsmanship oozed from ever crazy and endearing nook and cranny of this production. And the kicker is that the audience remained engaged in every emotional moment, every sad truth the story had to offer.
And that's hard to pull off.
So where did my mind go while I was watching this master class of storytelling? Cotton Patch Gospel, of course.
I know, I'm weird, but that's next summer's show. Its powerful, its musical, its zanny, and most of all its passionate.
We're constantly creating shows throughout the year, constantly staging new stories or revisiting old ones, and always hoping our work is improving. So from time and time its nice to receive some encouragement that we're not alone in our lunatic quest to create something original.
All that to say, don't miss next summer's show. It won't be here for very long. Maybe it'll be your brief encounter with something inspirational.
- Stephen W. Baldwin