Phedre (City Screen/National Theatre, 25th June 2009)

Film and Theatre are very different, and this is why it felt so strange in a cinema watching actors with bold gestures projecting their voices so the back of the stalls can hear them. The experiment, I think was a success, but only because I was always mindful that this was a live stream from a theatre, and not a cinematic version of the National Theatre production. I think a production made specifically for the cinema/DVD would be very different from a stage production and we’ll see whether this is the case with the RSC Hamlet. I found it strange that in the cinema there was no sense of the audience in the National Theatre. I felt the picture was crisp, and the set worked so well on the cinema screen. I saw the set when I went to the Antony Sher platform and in the Lyttleton it feels like a claustrophobic space, which isn’t so evident in the cinema. The blue backdrop was perfect in representing the exterior scenes. In this play, there are no comic moments, so it is a very tense two hours sat in such a hot cinema, and I felt that not having the interval worked well.

The next production to be streamed live will be All’s Well That End’s Well and that will have an interval. It will be interesting to see if all the audience can get back from the bar in time, without House managers to monitor progress of return of the audience as in the Theatre.

Do you clap at the end when you’re sat in the cinema? The actors can’t respond to you to acknowledge the applause if you do. Only a few people clapped in the cinema where I watched the film, and I must admit I was torn whether to appleaud or not.

I’m going to see Phedre live at the National soon. I think I would have preferred to have done this the other way round, but I am looking forward to seeing it really live. I shall blog about it again then.

Reviews and Previews

Mark Lawson on Phedre in the cinema
Preview – Phedre in the cinema
Michael Billington on the filming of Phedre
Phedre screening (Independent)
New Statesman on Phedre screening
Phedre in the Telegraph

City Screen York Helen Mirren National Theatre Phedre

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