All entries for Friday 13 March 2009

March 13, 2009

Warwick Arts Centre summer programme

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A few interesting highlights in the new Warwick Arts Centre programme. Student productions of 'Tis Pity She's a Whore and A Midsummer Night's Dream are both of obvious interest to me, and there's some very intriguing theatrical experimentation from Stan's Cafe and Look Left Look Right.

Perhaps the thing I'm most interested in, though, is the live broadcast of the National Theatre's Phedre on June 25th. It's a production I'm hoping to see in London anyway, but I'm fascinated to see how this screened theatre works. There are all kinds of arguments and debates raging over it: on the one hand, people argue that it's bringing theatre to a mass audience at affordable prices, and may even encourage people back to the theatre. On the downside, critics are worried that people will see this as an alternative to 'proper' theatre-going, and worry about the damage it will cause long-term to the audience-performer relationship. There's also the theoretical question about the status of the performance - even if it's broadcast live, it's still being mediated through a camera lens and therefore constrains the viewer to look in certain places at specific times. Is this meant to recreate the theatrical experience, or is it simply an optional extra, repackaging a version of the performance for a completely different audience?

Either way, I think I want to go and see it to judge for myself. It'd be lovely to catch it in person and on the screen and compare - watch this space.

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Peter Kirwan is Teaching Associate in Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama at the University of Nottingham and a reviewer of Shakespearean theatre for several academic journals.

The Bardathon is his experimental review blog, covering productions of (or based on) all early modern plays. The aim is to combine immediate reactions with the detail and analysis of the academic review.

Theatre criticism always needs more voices. Please comment with your own views and contributions!

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