Two lost souls, with more than 70 years between them, meet on a train in the HIADS’ production of A Railway Journey, which is on at the Hayling Island Station Theatre from tomorrow until next Saturday.
To commemorate the closure of the branch line between Havant and Hayling Island, the Hayling Billy 50 has formed – so HIADS thought it was the perfect time to stage a play all about the British railway.
Laurie Noble is directing the production. He says: ‘There’s a small exhibition at the theatre, and various other events, to commemorate the closure of the local line, so we thought it would be good to put on a railway-themed play.
As the first act, HIADS will perform Noel Coward’s Still Life. Made into a film, Brief Encounters, in 1945, it stars a suburban wife who falls for a doctor. The play depicts the life of Alec and Laura across a 12-month period.
The second part of the performance is Jonathan Holloway’s The Railway Siding, where seven decades later Jack, an out-of-work and down-and-out architect, meets the ghost of Laura from Noel Coward’s play on a train.
Laurie says: ‘I looked around at various options but I homed in on this. I liked the idea that Noel Coward wrote a play, it was made into a film and then it was the inspiration for another play – it’s amazing and a lovely connection.
‘The magic and romance of the railway has fascinated authors and playwrights ever since Stephenson’s Rocket, and arguably the best-known and best-loved railway drama is Brief Encounter.
‘They fit in together beautifully, and it’s imagined that the woman from the first place does in fact kill herself after the story ends. This modern work brings the immortal tale up to date with a chilling and ghostly twist.’
Tickets: £7 from the Hayling Island Station Theatre on (023) 9246 6363 or go to hayling-dramatics.hampshire.org.uk.