Friday, January 31, 2014


Fortunately, the weather didn't play havoc with my plans to see Coriolanus, a National Theatre Live presentation. This is the third one i've seen. I was disappointed to miss the Scottish Play (Macbeth for the nonsuperstitious) last month, because it was rescheduled eight days before Christmas, and on a day where we got quite a bit of snow. I had bought my ticket early, as the local venue where they show National Theatre Live productions offered a discounted price if you bought tickets for Othello, the Scottish Play, and Coriolanus. Because of technical difficulty, the October showing of Macbeth needed to be moved to a later date. I debated with myself about driving to see it, as the snow was just starting before it was time to go. I wondered how bad it would be driving home three hours later, and the answer was "Snowing hard enough that i probably chose wisely to give it a miss," although i was still unhappy about it.

That strengthened my resolve to see Coriolanus all the more, and, i'm happy to report, the weather co-operated. The sets were sparsely furnished, the make-up made Coriolanus's wounds look utterly believable, and it was an engaging watch. I was annoyed by the intermission as i wanted to keep watching the play. I know modern audiences expect an intermission, but Shakespeare didn't write with intermissions in mind, he meant for his plays to run nonstop.

With both Othello and Coriolanus, i found that the actors embraced the lines and made them their own, so they didn't come out sounding stilted. It's a shame Coriolanus doesn't get more press, and once again, i see that over the last four hundred years or so little about human nature has changed. People in a position of power often abuse their position and yield to their baser natures or insecurities. Coriolanus's tendency to speak his mind bluntly and his unwillingness to say something he doesn't feel simply to appease the masses or those who may be regarded as lesser reminded me very much of me.

I know people who drone on and on about Shakespeare, thinking that we should be duly impressed that they watch the Bard's plays, but really, the reason his plays have stood up so well is because they're damn fine plays. He understands the psychology of his characters has them stay true to themselves, and gives them great lines to utter, and THAT's what's so appealing.

We have some live theatre here, and i support my local thespians as i can. I must say, though, seeing these NT Live shows are a real treat, as i'd never see Tom Hiddleston appear in anything nearby. Yes, it's a bit more than the price of a regular film ticket, but worth every penny, and much less than the cost of a ticket were one to see it on Broadway.


  1. I've never read Coriolanus. I like Othello and The Scottish Play very much. I saw As You Like It at the Folger in Washington, D.C. It was wonderful.


    1. The NT Live previews showed King Lear coming up in May, which looks grand, too.

    2. Forgot to mention i saw a production of Richard III at the Globe Theatre when we visiting the UK in 2003, which was wonderful. It was put on by an all-female troupe. I got a groundling ticket (groundlings were those who stood on the floor in front of the stage. The stage is raised, so the groundlings were, in effect, standing in a pit). Groundling tickets are the cheapest, but you also can get up close, and if you don't mind standing, it's a fun way to see a play.

  2. I didn't enjoy the film version......
    It was all a bit too much...

    1. I usually don't like films that were once plays because they try to make it more like a film and take away from the energy you get in a live performance. My opinion only, others may feel differently.

      What i like about the NT Live productions i've seen so far is they film the play, so you get the same vibe of live theatre.