Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Although she usually gravitates towards edgier plays, co-director Bernadette Cheyne was attracted to Brigadoon by the strength of the love story and the confrontation between the values of modern life and less cynical times. Details in the script were updated to sharpen the contrast. “ Even though this show is from 1947, we didn't want it to be a period piece. We wanted to show how it connects to young people today, with the pressures they feel. We want the audience to feel that this is about them,” she said.

The Scotland location and Scottish feel to the music also was an attraction. “ Cheyne is a Scottish name, and I'm most familiar with that side of the family. I love Scotland and its music. The music in this show is really beautiful.”

“Another aspect that intrigued me is the desire to protect a certain way of life, a way of being,” Cheyne said. “That’s why Brigadoon hides itself in time, so it won’t be threatened or compromised. How difficult it is today to stave off cynicism when we’re bombarded with so much depressing and disappointing information. Brigadoon represents a kind of innocence in contrast.”

Music director Elisabeth Harrington agrees. “Brigadoon is a place of love and community, where everybody pulls together” she said. “The music also expresses this—the music itself is a major character because it is used as an emotional anchor throughout the show.”

The contrast between the contemporary city and Brigadoon is also part of the music, and is resolved in song, Harrington said. “You hear it in Tommy and Fiona’s duets, especially in ‘Almost Like Being in Love,’ when Tommy begins with a modern upbeat tempo, and Fiona slows it down with her Scottish accent, and they trade lines back and forth until they’re singing in harmony. So these two styles of two cultures are blending together, as well as expressing two people falling in love.”

The HSU production uses a full orchestra with a string section to play a score that is almost as famous as its songs. “I think Frederick Loewe really captures the Scottish spirit with his original music, using the instrumentation of a conventional orchestra, ”said conductor Paul Cummings.

“We have superb singers and actors in the major roles,” said Bernadette Cheyne, “and a large cast that’s enthusiastic and a joy to work with.”

“ I’ve directed four other musicals here over the years, with wonderful collaborations,” said co-director Richard Woods. "But this cast and the people we're working with now are the best group I’ve ever seen here, ever. They bring a world of energy and enthusiasm.”

No comments: