Nov. 2nd, 2013 03:41 pm
kitgordon: the atlantic near st just (Default)
[personal profile] kitgordon
So, I've been involved in the local theater community for quite a while and enjoy working with directors and actors (I'm usually the dramaturg); I also love going to local theater because real people on stage is magic (though I love movies too). This fall I've gone to three of the UK's
National Theatre Live encore screenings: Othello with Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear (wonderful), Macbeth with Kenneth Branagh (good overall, with a few quibbles), and Frankenstein with Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch (amazing).

The National Theatre, like the Guthrie here in Minneapolis, loves to show off all aspects of stagecraft--which means dramatic set, costumes, lighting, music. Often for me, and charming spouse Bob, it's too much--as he says, we're spoiled by small companies that work with much tighter budgets and focus on actors and text, while giving their due to the other aspects  as money allows. So the Frankenstein had too many bells and whistles, but the performances were absolutely magnificent. Miller and Cumberbatch played Frankenstein and the creature respectively in the screening we saw (we'll see the reverse cast as well this week); the first 15 minutes or so were incredible: the creature's birth from its "womb," and his discovery of his body through movement--no language at all at this point, just physical performance; it was truly astonishing. Another amazing sequence was the creature's interaction with the blind, poverty-striken professor from whom he learns to speak and read: just beautifully done. This sequence too was relatively simple in terms of the staging. I look forward to seeing the show again, and I hope that some day the National Theatre will, in its wisdom, make the recordings of the two performances available on DVD.

Live theater forever!


kitgordon: the atlantic near st just (Default)

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