Performing Arts: STC Brings London to DC

by Editorial

D.C. theatre- goers are enjoying a second season of London theatre with NT Live at the Shakespeare Theatre Company.
By Julie LaPorte

David Annen and Divya Kasturi in Complicite's A Disappearing Number.

David Annen and Divya Kasturi in Complicite's A Disappearing Number. Image courtesy of Stephanie Berger.

The Shakespeare Theatre Company is presenting the best of London theatre with a second season of NT Live. Managing Director Chris Jennings talked with Washington Life about the exciting line up and what’s in store for audiences.

Washington Life: Is it difficult to watch a film of a play? What can audiences expect when they attend a screening?
Chris Jennings: You’re not going for a film experience, and you’re not getting a theatrical experience. But you are getting to see theatre works that you might not get to see otherwise. The thing about theatre is all these productions happen four or five weeks and then they are over, you never get to see them again. This is an opportunity to expand the life of those works for a broader audience.

I think the National Theatre has taken great care in trying to bridge the gap of a theatre/cinema experience, and I think they’ve done a great job.

The other thing that’s exciting about this, that you don’t get in a regular theatre experience, both before and during intermission they do a lot of behind-the-scenes, they take you backstage, you get to see discussions with the artists. It really gives you a broad perspective, not just about the work, but about theatre in general. You don’t always get that just by going to the theatre.

WL: What have audiences appreciated the most about NT Live?
CJ: I think there are a number of audiences, especially our audiences here that come to the Shakespeare Theatre, they certainly follow a lot of these works. And sometimes people are able to make it over to London when these productions are happening and sometimes they’re not. So this is really, for our core audience, an opportunity to see some of the works they are already tuned into, but don’t always have a chance to see.

WL: What has changed from last season to this season?
CJ: What’s interesting that NT Live has done – these are no longer just productions of National Theatre. So it truly is the best of London Theatre, because A Disappearing Number is not a National Theatre production, King Lear with Derek Jacobi is not a National Theatre production. So they’ve been able to film the works that they’re doing at the National Theatre, but also open their doors to film these other productions that are happening in London as well. Even from the first season, this is truly even a broader perspective of the work in London.

This exciting second season is underway with Olivier Award-winning A Disappearing Number from Complicite on November 7, Shakespeare’s Hamlet on December 27, the Broadway hit FELA! on January 17, Donmar Warehouse’s King Lear with Derek Jacobi on February 7, Danny Boyle’s new production of Frankenstein on March 21 and Anton Chekov’s classic The Cherry Orchard on July 11.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit Shakespeare Theatre.

2010 HeadshotJulie LaPorte is a freelance writer living outside Washington, D.C. For the past year she has served as a columnist for Washington Life Magazine – penning reviews for the Performing Arts and the Paint the Town columns. She also works as a political marketing copywriter for candidates in local, state and national campaigns as well as for Congressional franked mail.

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