[personal profile] f4f3
When, I'd argue, it's a Movie Theatre.
I went off to see the NT Live broadcast of Hamlet last week in a cinema.

I've seen a lot of Hamlet's over the years, live and on film, and this was one of the best. I thought the Cumbersnatch was excellent, the rest of the cast universally up to scratch, and the whole damn thing was audible and well spoken. One of the things that I didn't like about the recent film version of MacBeth was that for long stretches I could only barely hear it - the dialogue was given mostly in a monotone, and quite often in a low monotone. This production was meant to be heard, not just seen, and the language was spoken with such drive that the meaning was always clear.

The set design was also pretty awesome, with the (metaphorical) fireworks at the end of Act One very well done.

And as a viewing experience, it didn't work for me at all.

This was a full blown theatrical production, and an excellent one, but I wasn't in a theatre audience. Cumberbatch did not make the same connection with me as a stage bound Hamlet that Fassbinder made with me as a (mumbling, grimey) MacBeth. Mostly, I suspect, because he wasn't trying to. As the villain in the last Star Trek movie, Cumberbatch held me from the first moment he appeared (ok, and less so as those moments accumulated). I kept expecting to feel the connection I do for actors on a stage, not a screen, and it lifted me out of the immersive nature of a performance as if it was happening behind glass.

Which it was,

So, interesting, well done, and ultimately unsatisfying (and much more expensive than a normal cinema ticket).

I know this must be a well-worn problem by now, especially for Opera fans. But it seemed worse than, say, the movie of The Wall I watched the other week, or other concert movies. And I don't know why that is.

When is a movie not a movie? 

Date: 2015-10-22 04:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chickenfeet2003.livejournal.com
No question that the cinema thing is a surrogate for live performance. Unfortunately there are those in the opera world who seem to think it's close to, or even better than, the real thing. They do tend to be those of an age where hearing loss may be an issue. Also, as you point out, it's not cheap. One can, with a bit of cunning, attend live opera/theatre in Toronto for less than the price of a cinema ticket for the Met, Royal Ballet, NT etc.

Date: 2015-10-23 10:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] f4f3.livejournal.com
I'd almost always rather take the cheapest seats in a live performance. The exception for me is the star vehicles and those productions that don't tour.

And yes, the buzzing in my ears tells me that the sound is a lot clearer in the cinema.

Date: 2015-10-22 09:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] slobberpuppy.livejournal.com
A friend was in the UK, and caught the live production... Which sounded fabulous! I agree that theatre doesn't always translate to film, movies ar a different beast, entirely.

How is Edinburgh holding you? Warmly, I hope!

Date: 2015-10-23 10:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] f4f3.livejournal.com
The live show was a pretty hot ticket (and a long way from Scotland) so there was never much chance of me making it. I also saw Hiddlestone in Corrialanus last year (last year? Already?) and actually preferred that (it was a smaller production, and seemed to work better on screen).

Date: 2015-10-23 10:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] f4f3.livejournal.com
Edinburgh is working out fine - I just need more nights out with the likes of danieldwilliam.

Date: 2015-10-23 10:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] danieldwilliam.livejournal.com
I am not sure that I have ever been to a screening of a love show.

I must go and see how I find it but it sounds like a less than satisfactory medium between two different technologies.

Date: 2015-10-23 10:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] f4f3.livejournal.com
You've never been to a screening of a love show?

I believe there are many clubs in the Soho area that could help you out with that.



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