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20 January 2013

Going to the Theatre without Going to the Theatre

Last week we went to the theatre. Or rather, we didn't.

We saw the stage production of the 19th century farce, The Magistrate, starring American actor John Lithgow.

It was being performed at the National Theatre on London's South Bank. We were watching it on a cinema screen in York.

It was broadcast live to cinemas around the country as it was being performed on stage.

I must say that the experience was a good one. Initially it was clear that we were "in" a theatre inasmuch as the audience and the stage were visible. Once the performance was under way, however, the camera(s) moved in so that to all intents and purposes we were right up against, or on, the stage, and there were useful close-ups of the key performers. This was especially beneficial considering John Lithgow's usual masterful display of facial expressions.

For many of us, getting to a cinema is sometimes easier than getting to a particular theatre that's presenting something we want to see, so this method of bringing stage to screen is a great idea, and we look forward to seeing more performances like this.

Coming up soon at the National Theatre is Alan Bennett's play, People
starring Frances de la Tour.
It's getting the same treatment, so we'll back in the cinema to enjoy it.

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