1 February 2018

‘Before Sunrise’ is a 1995 Richard Linklater film starring Ethan Hawke (Jesse) and Julie Delpy (Celine) that tells the story of two strangers who meet on a train. At Vienna, Jesse persuades the Paris-bound Celine to leave the train with him ahead of his return flight to the US the next day. Without money for food or lodgings, the pair wander the city, enjoying each other’s company, and making separating the next morning difficult.

Adapted for the stage and directed with great skill by OA Ash Verjee, this was a thoroughly charming production staged at the St Helen’s Studio Theatre. U6 student Bede Lunn played Jesse with a delightful English reserve that was the perfect foil for Alek Auton’s playful Celine. The circular acting area was used to great effect to create a sense of the couple’s nocturnal ramblings through the city, while simple stage blocks, subtle lighting and delicate soundscapes were deployed to conjure the different environments and gently suggest the shifting contours of the pair’s developing friendship.

Ash Verjee’s jewel-like productions have been a feature of the joint senior drama programme for some years now, offering richly rewarding experiences for actors to test themselves in the challenging context of a one- or two-person show and get a taste of the sort of opportunities available at university and in fringe festival productions.

Congratulations and thanks to Ash, Alek and Bede on an excellent evening of intimate theatre.

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