Live from the National Theatre celebrates 50 years of beautiful theatre. This production featured a combination of the old with the new; shows from Othello to Angels in America and actors like Michael Gambon to Andrew Scott took part in this amazing production. Broadcasted live on BBC Two, Live from the National Theater is a fantastic night at the theater.
This production was a work of art in and of itself. Sir Nicholas Hytner flawlessly intertwined the old with the new. With rare clips from performances past and live performances from today, the show flowed with ease and excitement. Not only was the production outstanding, but the cast was superb as well. Live from the National Theatre starred many acclaimed actors who have worked with the National Theatre including (*deep breath*): James Corden, Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi, Maggie Smith, Simon Russell Beale, Christopher Eccleston, Rory Kinnear, Anna Maxwell Martin, Penelope Wilton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ralph Fiennes, Helen Mirren, Roger Allam, Frances de la Tour, Alex Jennings, Adrain Lester, and Andrew Scott. Whoa!
The production was absolutely gorgeous. It featured performances from shows all performed on the National Theatre stage in the past 50 years. Not only did it feature old plays like Hamlet and new plays like War Horse, but also musicals like Guys and Dolls and A Little Night Music. Each show performed a five to ten scene starring Britain’s most prestigious actors. The pieces were enchanting, each one bringing a new energy into the theatre.
Latley, I have been so caught up in the world of cinema, watching movie after movie and television shows by the dozen, that I have forgotten my true roots. I have forgotten my love for the theatre. Live from the National Theatre brought that fiery passion back. Being in a theatre, you get to experience the thrill of a live performance; the idea that anything can happen. It’s a magical experience for the audience. You get to see the story come alive right before your eyes. You get to interact with actors; you feel as if you are there, standing beside them. Theatre is a thrill; it’s an adventure. It is something completely different anything a movie can capture.
I think a lot of people, especially in America, have this idea that theatre is for the lesser actors. That to be a theatre actor means you’re not good enough to be a Hollywood movie star. They couldn’t be more wrong. Theatre is one of the hardest jobs out there. Any average Joe can stand in front of a camera and say a few lines, but to be live on stage in front of thousands of people to perform a complex script or embrace an emotional character eight times a week is hard work. It’s extremely hard work. The theatre is where an actor truly gets to shine. It’s a magical experience for an actor getting direct feedback from their audience; they feed off the energy in the room. Each performance is different in its own way. You get to live in the moment, feel all the emotions your character feels, you get to truly become a new person. I really admire theatre actors. To have the talent and stamina to keep a performance fresh every night, and to give every performance like it’s your first is incredible. National Theatre employs only the best actors Britain has to offer. To be a part of the National Theatre means you have made it; you are a true thespian.
The finale included Frances de la Tour in a scene from The Habit of Art. With the entire company standing behind her, she recited a monologue about the fright an actor feels, and their perpetual fear of the audience and the stage. I quite honestly had chills during this performance The words were so profound and impactful, that you could almost feel the “fear” from the actors through the television. It was an absolutely fantastic ending to a beautiful show. During curtain call, each generation of actors were acknowledged. Although 50 years differs them, all the actors on that stage shared the same passion and devotion to their work. Their love for the theatre was evident and inspiring.
I think what the National Theatre does is absolutely incredible. I don’t live in London, so I don’t get to have the opportunity to see these extraordinary productions. But with the live filming of these shows, I still get the chance to experience the beautiful nature of theatre. Yes, it eliminates the main aspect of theatre, the live experience, but it gives aspiring actors and genuine lovers of the craft an opportunity to see amazing and talented actors at their best.
Originally Posted on Actor.Nerd.Fashionista on November 3, 2013
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