Arrival & Departure

Critics

LemonMeter

92 %

Reviews: 24

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

In this modern-day, re-imagined stage adaptation of the classic 1945 British film Brief Encounter, a Deaf man and a hard-of-hearing woman, two married strangers, meet accidentally in a New York City subway station. As their casual friendship develops into something deeper, each is forced to confront how their simmering relationship could forever change their lives — and the lives of those they love. The play is performed simultaneously in spoken English and American Sign Language with additional use of open captioning, so that both Deaf and hearing audiences can enjoy the production. July 13-Sept. 30: Fridays & Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. & Mondays at 8 p.m.; $20-$40; In addition to regular seating, Pay-What-You-Want tickets are available on Monday nights (subject to availability). Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave. (at Normandie), Los Angeles, CA 90029; (323) 663-1525; www.FountainTheatre.com.

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Reviews

Cynthia Citron
"“Arrival and Departure” is based on Noel Coward's screenplay for the 1945 film “Brief Encounter”, but if you say, “Oh, I saw that movie…” let me tell you “You ain't seen nothin' yet!” Sachs' romantic drama stars Troy Kotsur and Deanne Bray, two amazing performers who were born deaf, are married in real life, and can exhibit more emotion communicating in American Sign Language than many actors do shouting at the top of their lungs. And as they sign, their words are voiced simultaneously by Adam Burch and Stasha Surdyke, two equally fine actors."

sweet - Cynthia Citron - Santa Monica Daily Press - ...read full review


Cynthia Citron
"Stephen Sachs has provided every imaginable detail to make this enchanting story another artistic triumph. Noel Coward would be so proud!"

sweet - Cynthia Citron - Santa Monica Daily Press - ...read full review


"While the 90-minute one act play captures a plethora of emotion and drama, there are a few gaps. The issue of fundamentalist religion seems out of place and remains unresolved, while Jule's teenage insecurities are a side story that could be developed further."

sweet-sour - Marilyn Oliver - Los Feliz Ledger - ...read full review


"Heading the superb cast are Troy Kotsur and Deanne Bray, and there is an intensity to their performances that transcends imaginary characters."

sweet - Morna Martell - Theatre Spoken Here - ...read full review


"Whether or not you remember the famous, vintage film Brief Encounter, starring Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson, with a script by Noel Coward, you'll be captivated by this updated version of a love story that might have been. It's utterly unique. Performed by the principal pair of actors who are hearing impaired, every word in ASL (American Sign Language) is subtitled on the backdrop screen like a foreign movie."

sweet - Ingrid Wilmot, Will Call for Theater - ...read full review


"Playwright Sachs is also listed as director, which enables him to mine the important moments of this interesting, lovely play... The love between the lead characters is quite palpable and yet the ending inevitable."

sweet - Patricia Foster Rye - Larchmont Chronicle - ...read full review


"What was polite in the British version is here gritty, even somewhat violent, particularly when Emily dares to visit Sam on his own territory, in the classroom in which he appears to live. And even that visit terribly excites her, the halls filled with signing young men and women which reveal the truth of her now repressed homelife of devotion and faith."

sweet - Douglas Messerli - US Theater - ...read full review


"Bray gives a convincing portrayal of a woman who is genuinely trying to do her best, but is swept up by the moment; and Kotsur does a fine job with the sweeping. Brian Robert Burns gives a solid performance as Emily's husband, who walks the line between being a genuinely good guy Emily should stay with and being a jerk she should leave. The triangle works. But that's not all there is. There are some subplots which aren't as effective and come off as so much filler."

sweet-sour - Sharon Perlmutter - Talkin' Broadway - ...read full review


Shari Barrett
"Sachs wrote the play as a valentine to Bray and Kotsur, having worked with the two many times in the past, most notable with Deaf West Theatre. The two actors shine together onstage, their deep love easily surfacing as the two strangers fall hopelessly in love with even the slightest glance between them speaks volumes. When the two “speak” to each other in ASL, two actors seated in places on the set (Adam Burch and Stasha Surdyke) speak their dialogue with incredible emotion that will draw you into this tale of two people meant to be together but cannot be. But oh the marvelous moments when they are!"

sweet - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


Joan Alperin
"EXQUISITELY ACTED, DEEPLY MOVING, MUST-SEE… some of the best work I've seen on a stage in a very, very long time… Go see it!"

sweet - Joan Alperin - Los Angeles Beat - ...read full review


"Although similar to the movie in theme and construct, “Arrival & Departure” is invigoratingly original and of-the-moment. It is also boundlessly enriched by being performed in both spoken English and American Sign Language."

sweet - Daryl H. Miller - LA Times - ...read full review


"Director Stephen Sachs helms the cast with compassion and keen attention to detail. But it is the lovers who carry the show. Troy Kotsur's use of his facial expressions and graceful hands make mere words fade into unimportance. ...ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE is a brilliant study of belonging, as well as an entertaining and fascinating look at being separate and together."

sweet - Elaine Mura - LA Splash - ...read full review


"Deanne Bray (Emily) and Troy Kotsur (Sam) are actors of tremendous talent who -- no surprise -- are married to each other in real life. They transmit their chemistry and intelligence directly into the audience's souls. Mr. Sachs is obviously at the top of his game as both writer and director (he is also co-founder and co-artistic director of the Fountain). The staging, design, integration of supertitles and ASL, never gets ahead of the audience. The Fountain creative team, too many to list here, balance storytelling, design, and technology to create Art."

sweet - Bill Garry, Discover Hollywood - ...read full review


Mark Hein
"Stephen Sachs has adapted Noel Coward's classic film Brief Encounter for the stage. The result is a lively, often complex comic drama - - set in the bustle of New York, not a quiet London suburb. Sachs, a co-founder of The Fountain and of Deaf West, gives us a tale about people in crisis - - some of whom are Deaf. The Fountain's staging likewise creates a modern, urban world in which Deafness is, simply and unremarkably, a part of things."

sweet - Mark Hein - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder
"Featuring the indomitable Troy Katsur in its leading role, perhaps the finest non-speaking actor of his generation, cast here opposite his talented real-life wife Deanne Bray, "Arrive & Departure" is simply nothing short of brilliant. Stephen Sachs' script is both austere and accessible, revealing his clear understanding of the fragility of the human condition yet possessed of a poetic lyricism that shines through his down-to-earth dialogue."

sweet - Travis Michael Holder - TicketHolders LA - ...read full review


"Arrival & Departure does not disappoint. It is a kind and insightful story of love. I highly recommend this production. If you are in the middle of the hearing issue: hard of hearing: not deaf and do not sign, ask for seats close to the front and middle of the house."

sweet - Michael Sheehan, On Stage Los Angeles - ...read full review


"Once again, Sachs has scored a hit with this superb production which will make you laugh, and might even bring a little tear to your eye as you get a peek into the lives of ordinary people and how a chance encounter impacts on their families. It might even remind you of have a chance encounter of your own. The well-crafted script also illuminates the frustration of being stuck between the hearing and the hard-of- hearing worlds. In the end, this is an aching love story woven through the prism of the every day familial demands of two strangers who, through an unexpected turn of fate, fall in love."

sweet - Beverly Cohn - Santa Monica Mirror and LA West Media - ...read full review


Ellen Dostal
"In one beautifully staged scene, Sam convinces her to take off her shoes and wade in the water with him. The innocence of the moment, by two actors whose eyes can communicate worlds without uttering a sound, is astonishing in its impact, particularly when combined with Nicholas E. Santiago's shimmering water video and Donny Jackson's subtle shift in lighting framing them. The result is a breathtaking picture that springs into action like a 3-D movie shot vibrantly pulsating beyond the constraints of the stage."

sweet - Ellen Dostal - BroadwayWorld Los Angeles - ...read full review


"This opportunity to experience a mainstream, theatrical performance that features American Sign Language so prominently is a rare treat. Adam Burch and Stasha Surdyke interpret for Kotsur and Bray respectively, and captioning is presented during non-signed scenes, making Arrival & Departure one of the few shows completely inclusive of deaf, hard of hearing and hearing audience members alike."

sweet - Julia Stier - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon
"So many kind of dualities are explored here. Perhaps the biggest challenge is to balance the responsibility of duty against the impulsive risks of passion. Which course is the right one to follow? With many of its scenes set in a subway station, there are implicit allusions to the doomed Anna Karenina story. Those playgoers who already know the film Brief Encounter will anticipate how this 90-minute one-act work will end, but either way, the getting there is an entrancing and uplifting ride. And such a gift to be able to enter the non-hearing world in this inviting piece of theatre. Although, you will soon realize, it's not just about deaf (or Deaf) people, but about the larger human condition to which we can all relate. People come and go in our lives, some of whom we will never forget. But in the end, as with other characteristics such as race, age, religion, language, as Russell observes to Mya, what's most important is not what you see on the outside, but who you are on the inside. Where's our ticket to that place? Maybe at the Fountain Theatre box office."

sweet - Eric A Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Steven Stanley
"Though its script could benefit from additions and cuts, the latest from the Fountain once again proves the venerable L.A. theater company one of SoCal's finest. And as any Brief Encounter fan can tell you, make sure to have Kleenex on hand."

sweet - Steven Stanley - Stage Scene LA - ...read full review


"The end result leaves the essential core of Arrival & Departure emotionally vacant, reminiscent of those sumptuous cakes in bakery windows that are built over hollow cardboard shells. The outer gloss is all there, while the flavorful interior is not."

sour - Sylvie Drake - Cultural Weekly - ...read full review


"Sachs' work, accordingly, redeems the quiet repressions of Lean's film by setting everything into the tumult of American life, with all its endless comings and goings, its constant sense of motion. The couple at its center fall increasingly in love in the midst of those greasy, sugar-coated tables serving donuts and coffee, not in a slightly steam-and-smoke filled cottage serving up English tea and other edibles. What was polite in the British version is here gritty, even somewhat violent, particularly when Emily dares to visit Sam on his own territory, in the classroom in which he appears to live."

sweet - Douglas Messerli - US Theater - ...read full review


Erin Conley
"While the story told in Arrival & Departure may not be breaking the mold, the form it is told in is. It is wonderful to see Bray and Kotsur, two talented deaf actors, get to tell this story, giving deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons accessible theater and hopefully teaching hearing audience members something about deaf culture and communication barriers they may not encounter in their everyday lives."

sweet - Erin Conley - On Stage and Screen - ...read full review


Cynthia Citron
"“Arrival and Departure” is based on Noel Coward's screenplay for the 1945 film “Brief Encounter”, but if you say, “Oh, I saw that movie…” let me tell you “You ain't seen nothin' yet!” Sachs' romantic drama stars Troy Kotsur and Deanne Bray, two amazing performers who were born deaf, are married in real life, and can exhibit more emotion communicating in American Sign Language than many actors do shouting at the top of their lungs. And as they sign, their words are voiced simultaneously by Adam Burch and Stasha Surdyke, two equally fine actors."

sweet - Cynthia Citron - Santa Monica Daily Press - ...read full review


Cynthia Citron
"Stephen Sachs has provided every imaginable detail to make this enchanting story another artistic triumph. Noel Coward would be so proud!"

sweet - Cynthia Citron - Santa Monica Daily Press - ...read full review


"While the 90-minute one act play captures a plethora of emotion and drama, there are a few gaps. The issue of fundamentalist religion seems out of place and remains unresolved, while Jule's teenage insecurities are a side story that could be developed further."

sweet-sour - Marilyn Oliver - Los Feliz Ledger - ...read full review


"Heading the superb cast are Troy Kotsur and Deanne Bray, and there is an intensity to their performances that transcends imaginary characters."

sweet - Morna Martell - Theatre Spoken Here - ...read full review


"Whether or not you remember the famous, vintage film Brief Encounter, starring Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson, with a script by Noel Coward, you'll be captivated by this updated version of a love story that might have been. It's utterly unique. Performed by the principal pair of actors who are hearing impaired, every word in ASL (American Sign Language) is subtitled on the backdrop screen like a foreign movie."

sweet - Ingrid Wilmot, Will Call for Theater - ...read full review


"Playwright Sachs is also listed as director, which enables him to mine the important moments of this interesting, lovely play... The love between the lead characters is quite palpable and yet the ending inevitable."

sweet - Patricia Foster Rye - Larchmont Chronicle - ...read full review


"What was polite in the British version is here gritty, even somewhat violent, particularly when Emily dares to visit Sam on his own territory, in the classroom in which he appears to live. And even that visit terribly excites her, the halls filled with signing young men and women which reveal the truth of her now repressed homelife of devotion and faith."

sweet - Douglas Messerli - US Theater - ...read full review


"Bray gives a convincing portrayal of a woman who is genuinely trying to do her best, but is swept up by the moment; and Kotsur does a fine job with the sweeping. Brian Robert Burns gives a solid performance as Emily's husband, who walks the line between being a genuinely good guy Emily should stay with and being a jerk she should leave. The triangle works. But that's not all there is. There are some subplots which aren't as effective and come off as so much filler."

sweet-sour - Sharon Perlmutter - Talkin' Broadway - ...read full review


Shari Barrett
"Sachs wrote the play as a valentine to Bray and Kotsur, having worked with the two many times in the past, most notable with Deaf West Theatre. The two actors shine together onstage, their deep love easily surfacing as the two strangers fall hopelessly in love with even the slightest glance between them speaks volumes. When the two “speak” to each other in ASL, two actors seated in places on the set (Adam Burch and Stasha Surdyke) speak their dialogue with incredible emotion that will draw you into this tale of two people meant to be together but cannot be. But oh the marvelous moments when they are!"

sweet - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


Joan Alperin
"EXQUISITELY ACTED, DEEPLY MOVING, MUST-SEE… some of the best work I've seen on a stage in a very, very long time… Go see it!"

sweet - Joan Alperin - Los Angeles Beat - ...read full review


"Although similar to the movie in theme and construct, “Arrival & Departure” is invigoratingly original and of-the-moment. It is also boundlessly enriched by being performed in both spoken English and American Sign Language."

sweet - Daryl H. Miller - LA Times - ...read full review


"Director Stephen Sachs helms the cast with compassion and keen attention to detail. But it is the lovers who carry the show. Troy Kotsur's use of his facial expressions and graceful hands make mere words fade into unimportance. ...ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE is a brilliant study of belonging, as well as an entertaining and fascinating look at being separate and together."

sweet - Elaine Mura - LA Splash - ...read full review


"Deanne Bray (Emily) and Troy Kotsur (Sam) are actors of tremendous talent who -- no surprise -- are married to each other in real life. They transmit their chemistry and intelligence directly into the audience's souls. Mr. Sachs is obviously at the top of his game as both writer and director (he is also co-founder and co-artistic director of the Fountain). The staging, design, integration of supertitles and ASL, never gets ahead of the audience. The Fountain creative team, too many to list here, balance storytelling, design, and technology to create Art."

sweet - Bill Garry, Discover Hollywood - ...read full review


Mark Hein
"Stephen Sachs has adapted Noel Coward's classic film Brief Encounter for the stage. The result is a lively, often complex comic drama - - set in the bustle of New York, not a quiet London suburb. Sachs, a co-founder of The Fountain and of Deaf West, gives us a tale about people in crisis - - some of whom are Deaf. The Fountain's staging likewise creates a modern, urban world in which Deafness is, simply and unremarkably, a part of things."

sweet - Mark Hein - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder
"Featuring the indomitable Troy Katsur in its leading role, perhaps the finest non-speaking actor of his generation, cast here opposite his talented real-life wife Deanne Bray, "Arrive & Departure" is simply nothing short of brilliant. Stephen Sachs' script is both austere and accessible, revealing his clear understanding of the fragility of the human condition yet possessed of a poetic lyricism that shines through his down-to-earth dialogue."

sweet - Travis Michael Holder - TicketHolders LA - ...read full review


"Arrival & Departure does not disappoint. It is a kind and insightful story of love. I highly recommend this production. If you are in the middle of the hearing issue: hard of hearing: not deaf and do not sign, ask for seats close to the front and middle of the house."

sweet - Michael Sheehan, On Stage Los Angeles - ...read full review


"Once again, Sachs has scored a hit with this superb production which will make you laugh, and might even bring a little tear to your eye as you get a peek into the lives of ordinary people and how a chance encounter impacts on their families. It might even remind you of have a chance encounter of your own. The well-crafted script also illuminates the frustration of being stuck between the hearing and the hard-of- hearing worlds. In the end, this is an aching love story woven through the prism of the every day familial demands of two strangers who, through an unexpected turn of fate, fall in love."

sweet - Beverly Cohn - Santa Monica Mirror and LA West Media - ...read full review


Ellen Dostal
"In one beautifully staged scene, Sam convinces her to take off her shoes and wade in the water with him. The innocence of the moment, by two actors whose eyes can communicate worlds without uttering a sound, is astonishing in its impact, particularly when combined with Nicholas E. Santiago's shimmering water video and Donny Jackson's subtle shift in lighting framing them. The result is a breathtaking picture that springs into action like a 3-D movie shot vibrantly pulsating beyond the constraints of the stage."

sweet - Ellen Dostal - BroadwayWorld Los Angeles - ...read full review


"This opportunity to experience a mainstream, theatrical performance that features American Sign Language so prominently is a rare treat. Adam Burch and Stasha Surdyke interpret for Kotsur and Bray respectively, and captioning is presented during non-signed scenes, making Arrival & Departure one of the few shows completely inclusive of deaf, hard of hearing and hearing audience members alike."

sweet - Julia Stier - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon
"So many kind of dualities are explored here. Perhaps the biggest challenge is to balance the responsibility of duty against the impulsive risks of passion. Which course is the right one to follow? With many of its scenes set in a subway station, there are implicit allusions to the doomed Anna Karenina story. Those playgoers who already know the film Brief Encounter will anticipate how this 90-minute one-act work will end, but either way, the getting there is an entrancing and uplifting ride. And such a gift to be able to enter the non-hearing world in this inviting piece of theatre. Although, you will soon realize, it's not just about deaf (or Deaf) people, but about the larger human condition to which we can all relate. People come and go in our lives, some of whom we will never forget. But in the end, as with other characteristics such as race, age, religion, language, as Russell observes to Mya, what's most important is not what you see on the outside, but who you are on the inside. Where's our ticket to that place? Maybe at the Fountain Theatre box office."

sweet - Eric A Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Steven Stanley
"Though its script could benefit from additions and cuts, the latest from the Fountain once again proves the venerable L.A. theater company one of SoCal's finest. And as any Brief Encounter fan can tell you, make sure to have Kleenex on hand."

sweet - Steven Stanley - Stage Scene LA - ...read full review


"The end result leaves the essential core of Arrival & Departure emotionally vacant, reminiscent of those sumptuous cakes in bakery windows that are built over hollow cardboard shells. The outer gloss is all there, while the flavorful interior is not."

sour - Sylvie Drake - Cultural Weekly - ...read full review


"Sachs' work, accordingly, redeems the quiet repressions of Lean's film by setting everything into the tumult of American life, with all its endless comings and goings, its constant sense of motion. The couple at its center fall increasingly in love in the midst of those greasy, sugar-coated tables serving donuts and coffee, not in a slightly steam-and-smoke filled cottage serving up English tea and other edibles. What was polite in the British version is here gritty, even somewhat violent, particularly when Emily dares to visit Sam on his own territory, in the classroom in which he appears to live."

sweet - Douglas Messerli - US Theater - ...read full review


Erin Conley
"While the story told in Arrival & Departure may not be breaking the mold, the form it is told in is. It is wonderful to see Bray and Kotsur, two talented deaf actors, get to tell this story, giving deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons accessible theater and hopefully teaching hearing audience members something about deaf culture and communication barriers they may not encounter in their everyday lives."

sweet - Erin Conley - On Stage and Screen - ...read full review