Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Caesar and Cleopatra: The future of theatre?

Last night I had the privilege of going to the local Cineplex to watch this Stratford production. Considering the cost of getting to Stratford, I'm extremely glad it was filmed, giving me the chance to see it. A lot of this had to do with Christopher Plummer being in the cast, and I hope that this is not the closest I'll ever get to seeing him live. It was also nice to finally see some of Des McAnuff's work.

The way it was shot you never lost sight that you were in a theatre, yet the cameras managed to capture a lot of the experience of being in the audience. It wasn't perfect but it was a really good attempt. What's really amazing about this was that the showing last night was an encore, after the initial showing in theatres at the end of January, which tells me there's a definite market for this.

I wish that Fuente Ovejuna had also been filmed. I've still never seen a Lope de Vega play and I feel that seeing this great Spanish master might give us a new perspective on Shakespeare, who was his contemporary. The possibilities of improving theatre literacy are endless. In fact, if you're in Toronto at the end of March, you can go see Kabuki on the big screen using the same technology. While this will never replace the experience of live theatre, I think it's a great way to build audiences and give productions new life.

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