Wednesday, 7 December 2011

A Cinematic/Theatrical Experience

Written by: Peeny

Whilst sitting in the Curzon Cinema in Richmond, I watched a performance that was happening only a few miles away from me, that was also being viewed on several different continents at the exact same time.
“People from Australia” were welcomed to the National Theatre or London where John Hodge’s new play Collaborators was taking to the Cottesloe stage for another sold out performance; this is why I’m so thankful for National Theatre Live, it’s definitely a play to be seen by all. Sitting in a cinema seat watching a piece of theatre is not only a strange thing, but makes for a very interesting night that I like to refer to as a great learning curve – even if it was without popcorn, though apparently that was available. I just missed it.

The introduction at the beginning was very insightful. It was also quite comical seeing passer-bys get confused and frightened by the cameras – but the presenter introduced us to the showing of the play with a small amount of information. Alongside this, the cameras panned around the audience (which kind of ruined the experience for me) and for a few moments we watched the audience members, notably with envy, as they sit waiting for the performance to begin – as do we.

It kind of does feel like you’re watching the recording of a show that took place at school, or something of the sort. The acting was fantastic, and the play itself was tremendous. The main thing to note is that, whilst it feels like you lose nothing by not being in the actual theatre at the time, there is a very obvious huge difference: audiences in the theatre and the audience that I was part of in the cinema laughed at complete different times. The cameras did work the occasional close-up and dramatic pan around the theatre, and whilst there were some positives to the experience, once or twice the filming did hinder the ability to see clearly what was going on at all times.
            This is the kind of thing I would go to again, if I couldn’t get to the theatre. It’s a fantastic initiative on the part of the National Theatre, and does blow the mind to think that so many people around the world are watching the same thing, at the same time. It’s almost like a Hollywood movie playing at the cinema, giving stage performers the chance to be seen globally – especially in the case of this play, giving some fantastic performers the chance to be recognised.

The very, very comfortable chairs and comfortably warm room also gave the cinema the upper hand. It was like watching something on a delightfully large TV at home, most enjoyable. 

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