Three Shakespeare plays highlight NT Live season
Digital broadcasts will bring hits from the London stage to Prague's Aero
Posted: August 28, 2013
Britain's National Theatre Live project will be broadcasting five plays to digital cinemas across Europe, and kino Aero will be showing them in Prague. The project gives you a chance to see top notch actors such as Dame Helen Mirren and Sir Kenneth Branagh in critically acclaimed productions.
The plays in English so far have not proven to be as popular as some other alternative digital content. "Compared to the opera broadcasts, it is a much greater challenge to distribute contemporary English drama in English, even when it is always with Czech subtitles," Radka Urbánková, the publicist for distributor Aerofilms told The Prague Post. "The Czech audience is quite conservative and looks for famous names and well-known pieces. Still we think we have managed to grow a quite big and loyal audience in the Czech Republic that trusts us even with unknown contemporary plays."
This time may be a bit easier. "The coming season will be very classical with a majority of Shakespeare's plays, thus it will be more open to a wider audience than previous seasons," she said.
Three of the broadcasts will be previously recorded and two will be live. The season kicks off with an encore presentation a West End production of The Audience, starring Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II. The play, taped at the Gielgud Theatre, is directed by Stephen Daldry, who made the hit films Billy Elliot and The Hours, and was written by Peter Morgan, who wrote the film The Queen, which also starred Mirren. The play shows private meetings between the queen and various prime ministers from Winston Churchill to David Cameron. "The Audience is often wonderfully funny, with the Queen proving a deft mistress of the verbal barb, but also genuinely moving," Charles Spencer said in The Telegraph.
Sept. 12 at 7:45 p.m.
Tickets: 250 Kč
Sept. 26 at 7:45 p.m.
Tickets: 300 Kč
Oct. 17 at 7:45 p.m.
Tickets: 300 Kč
Nov. 11 at 7:45 p.m.
Tickets: 250 Kč
Jan. 30, 2014, at 7:45 p.m.
Tickets: 300 Kč
All shows at kino Aero
Next up is a live presentation of Shakespeare's Othello with Adrian Lester in the title role and Rory Kinnear as Iago. This modern dress performance from the Olivier Theatre puts the cast in contemporary military uniforms. It is directed by Sir Nicholas Hytner, who aside form plays and operas directed the films The Madness of King George and The Crucible. The Times of London said the production was "a breathtaking show of emotional firepower" and called the two leads "superb."
More Shakespeare follows with a recorded presentation of Macbeth with Kenneth Branagh in the lead and Alex Kingston as Lady Macbeth. Branagh co-directed the production with Rob Ashford, and it originated at the Manchester International Festival. Branagh has a long history with Shakespeare that includes filmed versions of Hamlet, Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing and Love's Labour's Lost.
Another reprise presents Frankenstein, directed by Danny Boyle, who is known for the films Trainspotting and Slum Dog Millionaire as well as the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. Trainspotting star Jonny Lee Miller plays the monster in this adaptation written by Nick Dear based on Mary Shelley's novel. "It's a humane, intelligent retelling of the original story in which much of the focus is on the plight of the obsessive scientist's sad creation, who becomes his alter ego and his nemesis: it's rather like seeing The Tempest rewritten from Caliban's point of view," Michael Billington said in The Guardian. "As a piece of staging, it is brilliant."
The season closes with a live broadcast of one of Shakespeare's more obscure plays, but one that has had a resurgence of popularity recently. Coriolanus finds Rome in a state of political chaos with crowds angered by famine. The title character, once a hero, becomes exiled from Rome and plots is return with the aid of some rebels. Tom Hiddleston, who appeared as a captain in War Horse and as Loki in The Avengers, has the lead role in this Donmar Warehouse production.
The NT Live series is distributed in the Czech Republic by Aerofilms, which also handles digital theatrical broadcasts of operas, concerts and ballets. The NT Live project began in 2009 as a means of spreading theatrical production to places in the UK, and has since spread across Europe and to English-speaking countries such as Australia, the U.S. and South Africa. More that 1.5 million people have seen the broadcasts worldwide.
Raymond Johnston can be reached at
Tags: theater, Shakespeare, National Theater Live, Helen Mirren.