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Richard II starring David Tennant Simply Breathtaking

Posted on January 21, 2014 at 6:15 PM

RSC Richard II: Screening vs. Live Performance

By Peggy Jensen/DT Forum

The production of Richard II is the first screening that The Royal Shakespeare Company showed worldwide. The Music Box was the local Chicago theatre to screening this production. Chicago fans of theatre and of the star, David Tennant, were now able to see the production without taking out a second mortgage on their house to see it live in Stratford or London.

The screening had added specials like interviews of Greg Doran, the director and actors of the production company. There were behind the scenes and history of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) during the intermission and before the screening. The screening started with showing the audience coming into the theatre for the performance, giving the screeners a bit of the excitement and atmosphere of the night of the filming. Only one performance was filmed for the screening. There was no second chance for the Richard II Company. This did give the feeling of a live performance.

The screening of Richard II gave the viewer something that a theatre goer would not get at any live performance. The viewer got up closer to the acting than even someone in the front row. It is a great treat to see these powerhouses of the British stage and screen in their environment. There is nothing like seeing great actors on stage and being able to see the emotions on their faces in close ups. It was just as wonderful a treat to see these performances of the actors in the live performance of the show in London. The power of all of the performances did not need close ups.

The way the screening was filmed it did give more of a movie feeling then a theatre production. They were able to guide the audience’s attention during the scene changes. The live performance did have some beautiful scene changes which were assisted by a minimal design. The scene changes were so well timed by the actors and crew. The energy of the performance was never diminished by the scene changes in the live performances.

The artistic team of the RSC would have been able to guide the audience’s attention more than in the live performance. The camera was the screening audience’s eyes and if it were focused on a close up of one actor the reactions of the other actors on stage were lost. This by no means took away from the power of the production for the screening audience. The majesty and drama of this performance was not lost by any means with the screening.

The Royal Shakespeare Company enables an audience that would have never seen this production to experience it. The Royal Shakespeare Company has a long history of producing some of the best productions of Shakespeare’s plays. Richard II is the first in hopefully a long line of RSC productions that will be screened worldwide in the upcoming years that a whole new audience can enjoy these future classic performances.

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