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Bratty - quill
Posted on Wednesday 24 April 2013 at 9:45 am

British Theater in my Living Room? Yes, please!

Oh, now this could be very bad for my budget and dissertation progress...

There's a new website where you can rent or buy digital download recordings of live stage performances from various British (mostly London) theaters. Currently there's not much and what is there is dominated by Shakespeare (David Tennant and Catherine Tate in Much Ado and Roger Allam as Falstaff in Henry IV as examples that might interest the flisters), but there are other things (an Arthur Miller and an Ibsen caught my eye) and hopefully it will expand. The one thing I was disappointed to note is that the National Theater is not one of the listed partner theaters so guess I'm still stuck with driving about an hour to catch those when they're being broadcast to theaters which isn't terribly convenient.

My initial source: radiotimes.
Feeling: cold
Exploring: My bloody freezing office at the library
Listening: Rolling Stones - As Tears Go By


space_oddity_75 at 4:13 pm on 24 April 2013 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yes! The website looks really good, and I'll make sure to keep my eyes peeled for new stuff, in case there's something interesting to download in the future. I've already got Much Ado and Henry IV Part 1 and 2 on DVD, but I can't wait for new releases.

The National Theatre has got this silly policy of not wanting to release DVDs of their performances. That's why last year I had to drive 50km to go to the cinema and watch Frankenstein with Cumberbatch & Miller, while I would have preferred to buy the DVD and play it at home instead.

This June I'm going to London to see Roger Allam in The Tempest at the Globe, plus John Simm in Harold Pinter's Hothouse at Trafalgar Studios: while the DVD of Allam's performance is going to be released next year, as The Globe has already announced, I'm afraid there's hardly any chance that Simm's play will be recorded at all. I've never seen any of his performances recorded for posterity, which is a shame, as he's an excellent stage actor.
bratty_jedi at 8:40 pm on 24 April 2013 (UTC) (Link)
I don't usually rewatch things like this enough to justify the cost of the DVDs but a rental is much cheaper and I can probably talk friends into chipping in for the cost and have viewing parties.

I know NT isn't big on releasing performances and I kind of get it because you do lose something by not actually being there for a live performance and they want to preserve the integrity of the show. But I can't be in London, NY, etc. for live performances of everything I'd want to see and once they're off the stage they're gone forever. I don't understand not releasing DVDs after the show has closed. Plus, anything that they do broadcast as part of the NT Live programs is going to end up bootlegged on the internet somewhere so they're just losing a potential revenue source. Of course, even though I know everything is out there, I won't go the illegal routes so they're just punishing those who actually respect the whole thing the most. The closet theater to me that does the NT broadcasts is about an hour drive and the times just aren't always convenient. I managed to see one version of Frankenstein (Cumberbatch as creature and Miller as doctor), but never got to the other though I'd have loved to do so. Frankenstein is one of my favorite novels and that adaptation was extremely well done at getting at the heart of it. Oh well.
space_oddity_75 at 8:58 pm on 24 April 2013 (UTC) (Link)
I love the Globe DVDs because they usually have subtitles, and although I'm fluent enough in modern English, I'm afraid Shakespearean English is not exactly my forte, therefore I'm always afraid I might miss part of the dialogue and not understand the performance in full if I can't hear all the words. In this case, DVDs are invaluable. Moreover, I can also get my husband (who's not as fluent in English) to watch the plays with me, because he's alredy used to watching subtitled TV series and movies, so his eyes are trained to follow the subtitle text.

Here in Italy, everything that's on TV is either dubbed completely or shown with awful voiceovers that prevent you from listening to the original language. That's why most people here can't speak English at all: besides a few years of awful basic lessons courtesy of our appalling school system, there's hardly any chance for us to listen to British or American TV programmes (unless you can afford to have satellite TV), so we tend to buy many DVDs in order to learn the language a bit better. :)

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