Shakespeare Theatre Company to Present Kneehigh's BRIEF ENCOUNTER, 3/29-4/13
The Shakespeare Theatre Company will present the international hit Brief Encounter as a part of its STC Presentation Series.This U.K. production comes to Washington, D.C. from Cornish theatre company Kneehigh on its acclaimed international tour. Brief Encounter has riveted audiences with its innovative blending of theatre and film mediums in England, Australia and New York and earned nominations for two Tony Awards: Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play and Best Sound Design of a Play. Adapted and directed by Kneehigh Joint Artistic Director and Deputy Chief Executive Emma Rice and originally commissioned and produced by David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers and Cineworld, Brief Encounter will run from March 29-April 13 at the Lansburgh Theatre (450 7th Street NW).
Brief Encounter, a new creation based on the iconic 1945 movie and Noël Coward's one-act play Still Life, switches seamlessly between live theatre and projected film footage, taking audiences to a bygone age of romance and the silver screen. The New York Times lauded the production's ability to channel multiple art forms to convey powerful emotion: "Brief Encounter may be the most exquisite set of fan's notes ever to take form on a stage. Through musical numbers, film projections and vaudeville jollity it spells out not only what the show's doomed lovers are experiencing but also what we, who have known them for years, experience whenever we watch them on screen."
When Laura, a married woman travelling into town to shop, gets a speck of coal dust in her eye, handsome Dr. Alec Harvey is quick to help her. From this chance encounter an irresistible passion sparks and grows. Set in a train station and using the words - some newly set to original music - and familiar songs of Noël Coward, the result is a breathtaking, funny and tear-inducing show in which live musicians play on stage and characters jump in and out of film screens. Brief Encounter is a bittersweet celebration of a cinema classic, staged in an immersive fashion that's unlike anything an audience has experienced before.
Returning to the STC stage is Hannah Yelland in her Tony nominated role as Laura, previously seen on the STC stage as Hermione in The Winter's Tale. Artistic Director Michael Kahn noted, "Last season was Hannah's first production developed in the U.S. and her first professional Shakespeare production. We are so pleased to welcome her back to our stage; I'm excited to see her brilliant work come alive in the Lansburgh Theatre once again."
This production of Brief Encounter is part of the STC Presentation Series which presents world class international productions to theatregoers in D.C. "Brief Encounter is a spellbinding theatrical experience," declared Kahn. "This lush adaptation of an iconic film coming to life onstage is a stunning event, integrating projections, song and classic noir."
Brief Encounter at the Shakespeare Theatre Company is generously sponsored by Dr. Paul and Mrs. Rose Carter with additional support by the British Council.
Hannah Yelland* returns to STC after a successful run in The Winter's Tale last year and will reprise her Tony nominated role of Laura in Brief Encounter. Yelland and her father David toured London's West End, the United Kingdom and Toronto with their production of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. She has appeared in London in Daisy Pulls it Off and in Dublin at both the Gate Theatre in My Cousin Rachel and the Abbey Theatre in A Doll's House and Mrs. Warren's Profession. Yelland can be seen in the films Method and AKA and on the television shows Modern Love, Dinotopia, Poirot, The Secret and Ahead of the Class.
Jim Sturgeon will play Dr. Alec Harvey. Sturgeon has been fortunate enough to have performed in English theatres north and south of the border, including Dundee Repertory Theatre's Equus and A Christmas Carol. Other notable credits include Hansel & Gretel, Beauty & The Beast and LIAR at the Citizens Theatre and Betrayal at the Harold Pinter Theatre. His recent film credits include 71 and All You Need Is Kill, both of which will be out next year. Sturgeon trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, graduating in 2003 with a BA in Acting.
The cast of Brief Encounter also includes Joe Alessi as Fred/Albert, Dorothy Atkinson as Beryl, Damon Daunno* as Stanley and Annette McLaughlin as Myrtle. Dave Brown and James Gow serve as musicians for the production.