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Filmed theatre performances... what's your experience?

 
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Filmed theatre performances... what's your experience? - 11/6/2012 12:13:57 AM   
Taizy

 

Posts: 210
Joined: 1/1/2006
As a massive theatre fan I have watched with interest the development of filmed performances being shown in cinemas so a larger audience can be reached.   I'm very fortunate to live near London so able to get standby tickets for plays etc on occasion but it's still pretty expensive to go to most theatre.  There is always going to be something special about the live experience but a can a filming of a performance can be a good second best?

My first experience of this was seeing a screening of 'Company' by Steven Sondheim which had been put together in America for a special concert and was fantastic, giving another plus to this new(ish) idea as it allows international productions to be enjoyed.  However it is still quite expensive - Company was 12 for a lunchtime matinee.  Having seen adverts for opera and productions such as Frankenstein / One Man, Two Guv'nors to be shown in cinemas I wonder what others think of it?

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RE: Filmed theatre performances... what's your experience? - 11/6/2012 12:21:52 AM   
elab49


Posts: 54599
Joined: 1/10/2005
I can't recommend Frankenstein enough. I think it does depend on

a) how good the person putting it together is
b) the stage - Collaborators was superb but it was on at the Olivier, and that added a whole different level of difficulty. Ditto with London Assurance. And the stuff from the Globe is a bit more 'plant the camera in front of the stage and switch it on'.

Danny Boyle clearly seemed to put as much thought into how Frankenstein should be filmed as to how it should be staged - it's a stunning experience from beginning to end. And Hytner, or whoever he has do it, took a lot of time with Habit of Art as well.

I think the whole thing is a brilliant idea. I got fed up going down to London a couple of times a year for plays that don't make it up here, or only do with different casts. This is a great half way house. And compared to a theatre trip, the normal 15 ticket price for NT Live is still a bargain.


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RE: Filmed theatre performances... what's your experience? - 11/6/2012 12:40:28 PM   
great_badir


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Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
I can't speak for theatre, but, as a technical c) to elab's a) and b), an awful lot does depend on the techie boys at "your" (i.e. the cinema's) end of the broadcast.

I went to see the live broadcast of Genesis' Dusseldorf gig from their Turn It On Again tour in 2007 at our local Cineworld and the sound was appalling (please please no jokes about their music - they are my favourite band and this thread is not about that) - way too much bass (to the point where the music and vocals were frequently lost amongst anything registering in the lower frequencies) and quite distant mid-range stuff. Initially we thought it was just a technical problem given the nature of the broadcast that we would just have to put up with, but when we read in the forums of how people generally thought it was brilliant and that few others had the same problem, we then discovered that each cinema basically mixed it themselves and, in our case, the technical "monkeys" did not do any audio tests prior to the show. Turns out that we weren't the only people that complained, and we got a full refund.

Anyway, obviously you're not seeing a live concert broadcast and one would hope that any audio problems would not be as sever, but just as a warning that these things can and do happen.

Otherwise it was an interesting experience, and the audience in the cinema still clapped after each song (no rushing up to the front to dance at the end, though). Purely from the point of view of "is it worth it" and can it be a good second best, I would say yes, particularly if there is no other alternative for the audient to see the show.


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RE: Filmed theatre performances... what's your experience? - 11/6/2012 2:36:54 PM   
st3veebee


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Joined: 3/9/2006
From: 9303 Lyon Drive
I'm very intruiged by this as well. I'm a fan of theatre but have ever seen a filmed version. Frankenstein is out soon enough and looks like a good starting point!


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RE: Filmed theatre performances... what's your experience? - 11/6/2012 9:06:23 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54599
Joined: 1/10/2005
The advantage with a 'film' over a concert is that if the cinema is competent to show a film there shouldn't be a problem I think. But I've no experience going to see concerts (or opera, thank god! - but it is very popular with cinema broadcast and I'd imagine Badir's point would also be really important for them).

I'm very tempted to go see Frankenstein again (take the plunge St3veebee, you'll be amazed - although my preference was Cumberbatch as the the monster and I think that ones been played BUT it's about the 4th time they've been shown so no doubt they'll be back) but I'm also holding out hope that, at some point, they might release some of these. The Globe have with older ones but that doesn't matter as much because they did a deal with Sky Arts and the channel has just finished showing a lot of the Globe broadcasts as part of their Shakespeare season (including Roger Allam's wonderful Falstaff). But there are a few of the NT Live I'd snap up with relatively little consideration as to price - I'd particularly like to see Collaborators again. The NT model is clearly attracting interest though - the Donmar Warehouse dipped its toe broadcasting Jacobi's Lear last year and I've read that other theatres are thinking about it too.

There's also an online option called Digital Theatre. It's main selling point was rights to the Tenant/Tate Much Ado About Nothing - again, some of those are of the plonk the camera down and film variety, but no less watchable for that. Lots of theatres are aligned to it but there are relatively few productions thus far.


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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RE: Filmed theatre performances... what's your experience? - 11/6/2012 11:25:14 PM   
Taizy

 

Posts: 210
Joined: 1/1/2006
Great_Badir, that's a really good point about sound recording but I'm glad to hear the audience still entered into the spirit of things, at 'Company' there was about 12 of us in the large auditorium - me and my sister clapped only at the end and still got tutted and weird looks!

Thanks for your points also Elab - Frankenstein has been one of the main ones I'd heard about and am hoping to see it in the autumn.  I did wonder if Boyle would have made it as immersive a cinematic experience as theatrical so not suprised that a lot of thought went into it.  I had forgotton about the 'live streaming' events, it must be much harder to do these other than for filming head on to the stage but would be very interested to see a production like this.   Theatres are becoming more enterprising in how they reach new audiences and in turn I think audiences are finding new theatre beyond just the West End big shows so hopefully the two will continue to develop. 

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RE: Filmed theatre performances... what's your experience? - 12/6/2012 1:49:35 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54599
Joined: 1/10/2005
I think the NT lives are live streaming - although if you go see Frankenstein now it'll be a recording from that initial live night. The first time I'm aware of them doing that was because of the phenomenal success with Frankenstein - first they added the additional night so you could see both leads and then they reshowed that and when they did they made clear this was a recording - so NT is, I believe, live but filmed in a far more creative way, more generally, than the Globe is (IMO). And it's the creative decision on how it's going to be filmed that is the difference I think.


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Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to Taizy)
Post #: 7
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