'Brokeback Mountain' brings two rising acting stars to the London stage

Streaming HUBMay 22, 2023

LONDON (AP) – “Brokeback Mountain” was a star-making onscreen story. It may be the same platform.

Rising American stars Lucas Hedges and Mike Fist make their London theater debut in an adaptation of Annie Proulx’s short story about two star-crossed Wyoming cowboys whose love is stifled by the strictures of their society.

Proulx’s story of homophobia on the range, first published in 1997, reached a vast global audience through Ang Lee’s Academy Award-winning 2005 film, which cemented the stardom of Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger.

A new stage version at London’s Soho Place Theater stars Hedges as taciturn ranch hand Ennis Del Mar and Faust as livewire cowboy Jack Twist, who fall in love in an isolated mountain setting during the summer of the 1960s. Are.

Both are already acclaimed young actors. Hedges received an Oscar nomination for playing a grieving teen in the 2016 drama “Manchester by the Sea,” and Feist is a Tony Award nominee for “Dear Evan Hansen” and The Gang in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story.” rocked as the leader riff.

Nevertheless, Hedges admitted that he was “quite nervous” before opening night.

“It’s a process of constantly feeling like I’ve discovered the character and then losing the character and finding it again,” Hedges told The Associated Press.

“We’re always nervous,” Faust said. But he said the actors were confident that director Jonathan Buttrell cast them for a reason.

“It’s because he sees those qualities in us,” he said. “I think we all have both in common. We are all Ennises and we are all Jacks, in our own ways. So the duality exists within all of us and part of our job is just to find those parts and to to surface and make them as accessible as possible.

Ashley Robinson’s screenplay aims to match the gruesome economy of Proulx’s 35-page story. It covers two decades in 90 minutes, as the pair struggle to turn their passion into something durable and sustainable.

Hedges said the director compared the show to the final production run at Soho Place, Euripides’ Greek tragedy “Medea”.

Hedges said, “Of course it’s not ancient Greek theatre, but there’s something deeply primal about it, about these two characters, the way they need each other and ultimately can’t be together.” “There’s something classic about the dynamic and the stakes.”

The actors are accompanied on stage by a live band which includes Scottish singer Eddie Reader and legendary British pedal steel player BJ Cole. But don’t call it a musical – this version of Wyoming’s “Oklahoma!”

“There would be no point in having these characters bursting into song,” said Dan Gillespie Sales, who composed the show’s plaintive, country-songs. “These characters have no internal dialogue.

“They cannot express themselves, and they cannot express themselves to themselves.”

Instead, “a pedal steel guitar and a harmonica – those things can get you into the landscape” both internally and externally, said Sales, whose theater work includes songs for the musical “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie”. Used to be.”

“Brokeback Mountain”, which runs through August 12, has garnered mixed reviews. The Guardian thought the play had “distilled purity”, but the Times of London said the production “smolders fitly” rather than catches fire. But there has been widespread praise for both the leads as well as for British actor Emily Fearon, who made her professional stage debut as Ennis’s frustrated wife Alma.

The power of the “Brokeback Mountain” story is undeniable, which was also adapted into an opera, first staged in 2014, with music by Charles Vuorinen and a libretto by Proulx. Some see it as a classic love story – but director Buttrell thinks that’s a misconception.

“This is not a love story,” he said. “It’s a story about fear. It’s a tragedy, because fear wins out.

“This story is still very, very, very relevant,” he said. “We haven’t moved yet.”


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