Matthew Trevannion plays Alec in the Scottish première of Emma Rice’s acclaimed stage adaption of one of the most iconic love stories ever told –Brief Encounter, Noël Coward’s tale of forbidden passion and middle-class restraint.
Directed by Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s Artistic Director Elizabeth Newman, this exciting new stage production with original music by Stu Barker, will run from 16 June until 29 September.
When a chance encounter in a train station tearoom kindles a timid, yet passionate, love affair between a married doctor and a suburban housewife, the two are forced to question if it’s worth risking everything for the sake of love.
Tender and joyous, Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s Brief Encounter has all the drama of David Lean’s masterpiece film and all the emotional ups and downs of a rollercoaster ride.
Emma Rice adapted Noel Coward’s screenplay for David Lean’s iconic 1945 movie, Brief Encounter, featuring Celia Johnson as Laura and Trevor Howard as Alec, which was in turn based on Coward’s one-act play Still Life, written a decade earlier.
You’re starring in Brief Encounter, what can you tell us about this production?
Our Brief Encounter is an ode to love. Its ability to elevate and disrupt. It’s a love letter in itself, to the golden age of cinema. It’s a production packed with beautiful and heartbreaking music and at the centre of it, two lovers whose lives are altered with a chance meeting.
Why do you think Noël Coward’s iconic love story remains so popular?
Any story that cleaves so close to human experience will always remain relevant. Noel Coward was forced to love in secret. Being gay was illegal then. In this story he is able to communicate the glorious agony of loving someone and knowing that it is dangerous to do so.
And what was it about Emma Rice’s adaptation that really appealed to you?
Emma Rice is clearly a fan of the original play and of the film. With a deft touch she has married the two materials and the end result is a play that is delightful to perform.
You’re playing Alec, how would you describe the character and what are you enjoying most about the role?
Alec is forthright and calm. He is composed but adventurous. He meets a woman and like a child he allows his instincts to carry him. He is, like all great characters, conflicted and hard to pin down. He displays the duality that exists within all of us; between the want to be a good and responsible human being and the curiosity that might cause so much pain and suffering.
Tell us a little more about how music plays an important part in the production?
As an actor you are always grateful for the other aspects of a production that help in telling the story. The music in this play builds an instant atmosphere. It effortlessly sets us in time and place, and offers a window into the hearts of the people within it. It is integral whilst not being overpowering.
What are you looking forward to most about working at Pitlochry Festival Theatre?
Pitlochry has a wonderfully passionate artistic director in Elizabeth Newman. She cares deeply about the work that goes on there and so you cannot help but get carried along by her commitment and desire to create stories told with a high level of quality. The building itself is gorgeous, staffed by kind and skilled people, and set beside the River Tummel. It is a place that has an awful lot going for it.
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking to see Brief Encounter?
I would say, first and foremost, that they should buy a multi show ticket. Brief Encounter is just one of an array of stunning shows being staged this summer, and there is a certain thrill to seeing the ensemble in different productions. Myself and Kirsty Stewart for example, play lovers in Brief Encounter, yes, but we are also Blanche and Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire. To see those wildly different parts played by the same two actors is a unique experience in modern theatre and we can’t wait to see what people make of each and every show.
Matthew Trevannion will be appearing in the Pitlochry Festival Theatre productions of A Streetcar Named Desire (2 June – 30 September) and Brief Encounter (16 June – 29 September). For information visit www.pitlochryfestivaltheatre.com