On 1 November, Year 10 drama students were fortunate enough to go and see a stage adaptation of Noël Coward’s ‘Brief Encounter’ at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury. This trip was especially exciting because the pandemic and the lockdowns have meant that many productions have been postponed or cancelled and this was the first trip to the theatre for many of us for a very long time.
The actors skilfully told the story of Laura and Alec – two ordinary people, both married, who meet by chance at a train station tea room. This meeting leads to an impossible love affair, for in the society of post-war Britain, people’s sense of duty was very heavy and divorce was scandalous. We really appreciated their performances, the lighting, the beautiful costume and set design, and the amazing live music played on stage by the actors themselves.
We particularly loved the sound effects, using live Foley – a technique used to create and record full soundtracks for films and TV shows. Many productions use recorded Foley sound, but having a Foley artist creating the sounds of the play (including pouring water in time with an actor pouring tea on stage, and shaking a suitcase containing something like gravel to create the sound of a freight train passing) in the wings, just metres away from us, made it all the more magical and really added to the atmosphere of the show.
All in all, everyone thoroughly enjoyed their evening in the theatre (especially the ice cream at the interval!) and we are very much looking forward to discussing the play in lessons. In fact, many of us would like to go again!
Emily (Year 10)