Last Sunday, I watched PBS’s The Song of Lunch on Masterpiece Theatre. This drama focuses on a reunion of two former lovers, who meet for lunch in an Italian restaurant fifteen years after their affair has ended. Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson play the two central un-named characters. This drama is based on Christopher Reid’s narrative poem. Rickman’s sonorous voice captures the poetic inner monologue and the frustration of the central character, a middle-aged man who resembles T. S. Eliot’s Prufrock in his inability to achieve what he wants. Thompson’s character has married a successful writer, lives in Paris, and has children; however, Rickman’s character is a much less successful writer who spends most of his time editing other people’s novels. His humdrum life has made him bitter, and he seems to have no family. When his former mistress criticizes his poetry, he cannot bear her censure.
I think that anyone who has ever had a love relationship crumble will recognize Reid’s insights into communication problems and suffering. Anyone who has ever tried to achieve a goal but failed will understand the main character’s descent. Both actors are superb in portraying two people who used to have a very strong connection but now have drifted apart. I enjoyed seeing Rickman have a more multi-faceted role than his Professor Snape in the Harry Potter movies.
–Originally posted Nov. 16, 2011