Brief Encounter - Poem by gershon hepner
Don’t be afraid if you will briefly swoon
when our encounter is the first
in which you hear inside your head a tune
that you’d not heard before and, unrehearsed,
plays in your head, while compliments are showered
by me that make you very wet,
belieiving this won’t be as Noel Coward
depicted it when his two lovers met.
Our first encounter will not be our last,
but surely lead to many more
while we direct ourselves, our only cast,
and cut out swooning till we score.
Inspired by Ben Brantley’s review of a new production of Noel Coward’s “Brief Encounter, ” directed at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn by Emma Rice (“Revisiting Three Strangers at a Train Station, ” NYT, December 9,2009) :
They’re two of the most straight-backed people you have ever seen. But inside their rigid bodies, they’re swooning. And there come those glorious moments in “Brief Encounter, ” the British-based Kneehigh Theater’s captivating adaptation of the 1945 movie, when the propriety-stifled lovers at its center are allowed to swoon for real. And I mean swooooon, as in falling backward, boneless, into a bottomless chasm, to the sound of waves crashing on distant shores. Fortunately, no one else onstage — that is, any other inhabitant of this couple’s prim, gray world of bustling train stations and crowded restaurants — is aware of such displays of Technicolor emotion. These very brief, oddly elegant demonstrations of what lies beneath buttoned-up exteriors are observed only by us, the theatergoers privileged enough to be watching (and part of) the show that opened Tuesday night at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn… Their story here is almost exactly that of the film. Alec meets Laura at a train station, where he removes a cinder from her eye. They meet again — in a café, in a park, in a flat — and describe their unexciting daily lives, their respective spouses and, finally, their undeniable love for each other. After that, what is there to go but their separate ways, their virtue intact but their hearts irrevocably shattered?
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