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From the moment you walk into the theater, you are transported to another time and place—specifically, thirties England, just before World War II. Rice and Murray were after an atmosphere that combined the theatrical with the “looser, more bawdy” feeling of a music hall or cinema. At times, the actors appear to slip into the original film, which is projected onto elastic screens at the back of the stage. Murray describes their process as figuring out a way to “juxtapose odd elements that wouldn’t normally sit together.”

Photo: Kevin Berne

Music is a continuous icebreaker. Before the show, the audience is greeted by musicians dressed as old-time cinema ushers. And Alec and Laura share their first laugh watching a ladies orchestra. Rice had planned to use men in drag, but once the concept shifted to evoking the world of film, she changed them to ushers. “I love a man in drag,” she says. “But the band is feeding into the bigger superstructure of the piece [now].”

Photo: Boru O'Brien O'Connell/New York Magazine

Murray is always more inspired by mood than by a specific look. He has “trillions” of reference photocopies from past productions he’s worked on, but “it’s not about, ‘Oh, I want one of those.’” In this case, Murray was attracted only to the woman’s expression: “It’s slightly nasty, superficial.” It inspired two characters, friends of Laura’s who are “English middle-class snobs … They know what the score is. It’s unsaid and not very nice.”

Photo: Boru O'Brien O'Connell/New York Magazine

In this early, inspirational sketch, coal figures heavily, as it does in the play, beginning with the first meeting of Alec and Laura: He plucks a cinder from her eye. But coal also speaks to the heat of the repressed lovers’ passion and to Alec’s vocation, preventive medicine for the working classes.

Photo: Boru O'Brien O'Connell/New York Magazine

Soldiers move in and out of the production. “We originally put them in kilts because we thought it would be kind of fun and distinctive”—with the occasional bottom revealed, says Rice. As the show evolved, she and Murray came to see that “in fact, they’re not at all funny. They’re about war coming. I wanted that sense of foreboding.”

Photo: Boru O'Brien O'Connell/New York Magazine

Rachmaninoff’s rapturous Piano Concerto No. 2 is central to the film’s score, but Rice and Murray shied away from relying on it. “Putting the Russian expression next to the British repression, there was an amazing chemistry,” Rice says. “I knew I couldn’t steal that.” So she latched on to an early line of Laura’s—“I used to play the piano as a child, but my husband’s not very musical at all”—viewing the piano as symbolic of the passions she lost to marriage. An upright sits on the stage for much of the production (the top doubling as the train-station café’s counter), but Laura plays it—and Rachmaninoff— only once, at the very end.

Photo: Kevin Berne

Myrtle, the bossy owner of the station’s tea shop, “has a slightly dominatrix feel in the show now. We’ve padded her bottom, padded her breasts.” Rice wanted her to “fill the space, own the space” as a subtle nod to the politics of a working woman living independently. “She has a very nice white apron now, which is a little bit cheeky,” adds Murray.

Photo: Boru O'Brien O'Connell/New York Magazine

Weird and Sublime

Reginald Chan (left) Third Avenue and 17th Street. On September 15, 2006, Chan was hit by a flatbed tow truck while making a delivery of Chinese food.

Brandie Bailey Houston and Essex Streets. On May 8, 2005, Bailey was struck by a private sanitation truck while on her way home to Williamsburg after waitressing at the West Village restaurant Red Bamboo. Bailey was a regular at CBGB, where a memorial was held in her honor.

Craig Murphey (left) Ten Eyck Street and Union Avenue, Williamsburg. Early in the morning of October 18, 2007, Murphey was biking home from escorting his date to her South Williamsburg apartment. According to police reports, Murphey attempted to outrun a gas truck turning left on Ten Eyck Street. His pelvis shattered on impact, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. In his honor, over 40 friends have since received tattoos that read BE BETTER.

Frank C. Simpson Linden Boulevard near 175th Street, St. Albans. Simpson, a janitor returning from the evening shift at a Con Edison facility, was hit by a Dodge Stratus on November 9, 2006.

Jose Mora (left) North Conduit and McKinley Avenues, Cypress Hills. On September 4, 2006, 11-year-old Mora was on his way to the barber for a back-to-school haircut; that week, he was to start the sixth grade at nearby Junior High School 302. He was struck by a Honda while walking his bike across an intersection.

Jonathan Neese South 4th Street and Roebling Street, Williamsburg. On August 12, 2006, Neese, a bike messenger known as “Bronx Jon,” was struck by a livery cab while cycling from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

Sam Khaled Hindy (left) Base of the Manhattan Bridge. On November 16, 2007, Hindy was run over after mistakenly entering a Manhattan Bridge lane reserved for cars.

Habian Rodriguez Main Street and Horace Harding Expressway, Flushing. On September 1, 2007, Rodriguez collided with a city bus and died 30 minutes later.

Elizabeth Padilla (left) Fifth Avenue and Prospect Place, Park Slope. Commuting to the Brooklyn Bar Association on June 9, 2005, Padilla swerved to avoid the open door of a parked P.C. Richard’s truck. She lost control of her bike and fell underneath the wheels of an ice-cream delivery truck.

Juan Luis Solis East Gun Hill Road and Bouck Avenue, the Bronx. Attempting to pass a double-parked car on June 22, 2007, Solis was struck by a box truck and died of severe head trauma. The truck did not stop.

Jeffrey Moore (left) Chauncey Street and Rockaway Avenue, Bed-Stuy. According to witnesses, on May 29, 2007, Moore was run over (twice) by his girlfriend Jeanine Harrington. She was indicted on charges of murder and criminal possession of a weapon (her Nissan Pathfinder).

Derek Lake Houston Street and La Guardia Place. On June 26, 2006, Lake reportedly skidded on a steel construction plate and was crushed underneath the wheels of a passing truck.

Elijah Armand Wrancher (left) Springfield Boulevard and 130th Avenue, Springfield Gardens. On August 28, 2007, 12-year-old Wrancher attempted to ride his bicycle while holding onto a moving truck. He lost his grip and fell under the truck’s rear wheel.

David Smith Sixth Avenue and 36th Street. On December 5, 2007, Smith was biking up Sixth Avenue when the passenger-side door of a parked pickup truck opened unexpectedly. He was knocked into the path of an oncoming truck.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Fall Fashion Features

The Beefcake in the Backcourt
Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.

 

The Beefcake in the Backcourt
Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.
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