BY BILLY SUTER
POPULAR plays by Harold Pinter, Peter Shaffer, George Bernard Shaw and Henrik Ibsen, all filmed live on stage in London, have been assembled for screening at Umhlanga’s Cinema Nouveau, at Gateway, as part of the latest season of the National Theatre Live film series.
The films will also be shown in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town.
First up, opening this weekend, will be Pinter’s No Man’s Land, scheduled for screenings at 7.30pm on January 21, 25 and 26, and 2.30pm on January 22.
Starring Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, and directed by Sean Mathias, the play was filmed live at London’s Wyndham’s Theatre for broadcast to cinemas globally.
Following their hit run on Broadway, McKellen and Stewart return to the West End stage in No Man’s Land which centres on two ageing writers, Hirst (Stewart) and Spooner (McKellen). They meet in a Hampstead pub and continue their drinking into the night at Hirst’s stately house nearby.
As the pair become increasingly inebriated, and their stories increasingly unbelievable, the lively conversation soon turns into a revealing power game, further complicated by the return home of two sinister younger men (Owen Teale and Damien Molony).
The running time of this production is about two hours and 20 minutes, including a 20-minute interval and a post-performance question-and-answer session.
Launched in 2009, National Theatre Live (NT Live) enables audiences to experience the best of British theatre throughout the year, as the National brings cameras into the auditorium to record and broadcast performances from stage to screen. NT Live broadcasts have been seen by an audience of more than 6 million people at some 2 500 venues in 60 countries.
Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus is scheduled for screenings at Umhlanga and elsewhere from March 4.
Lucian Msamati (Game of Thrones, NT Live’s The Comedy of Errors) plays Salieri in this iconic play, broadcast from the National Theatre and featuring live orchestral accompaniment by Southbank Sinfonia.
The story is that of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Adam Gillen), a rowdy young prodigy, who arrives in Vienna, the music capital of the world – determined to make a splash. Awestruck by his genius, court composer Antonio Salieri has the power to promote his talent or destroy his name.
Seized by obsessive jealousy, he begins a war with Mozart, with music and, ultimately, with God.
Scheduled for screenings from March 18 is the Donmar Warehouse production of George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan, directed by Donmar artistic director Josie Rourke and starring Gemma Arterton as Joan of Arc.
Joan: daughter, farm girl, visionary, patriot, king-whisperer, soldier, leader, victor, icon, radical, witch, heretic, saint, martyr, woman.
The classic play follows the life and trial of the young country girl who declares a bloody mission to drive the English from France. As one of the first Protestants and nationalists, she threatens the very fabric of feudal society and the Catholic Church across Europe.
Set for screenings from April 1 is Hedda Gabler which seesTony Award-winning director Ivo van Hove (A View from the Bridge) return to NT Live cinema screens with a modern production of Ibsen’s masterpiece.
Ruth Wilson (Luther, The Affair, Jane Eyre) is in the title role of a new version by Patrick Marber (Notes on a Scandal, Closer).
Hedda and Tesman have just returned from their honeymoon and the relationship is already in trouble. Trapped but determined, Hedda tries to control those around her, only to see her own world unravel.
Additional NT Live broadcasts in 2017 at Cinema Nouveau will include Twelfth Night, starring Tamsin Greig and directed by Simon Godwin; and Salomé, directed by South African-born, award-winning director Yaёl Farber. Also keep an eye out for Marianne Elliott’s production of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America – Part I & II, with Andrew Garfield, Susan Brown, Nathan Lane, James McArdle, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Denise Gough and Russell Tovey.
Broadcast dates for these titles to be confirmed.