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The NT and the Bard


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#1 Tulip

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 03:44 PM

Since NH took over there has been very few Shakespeare productions and considerably less compared to previous regimes

Is this right? Since the RSC left the Barbican itís very difficult to get good quality Shakespeare at an affordable price. Ok the RSC stuff can be priced reasonably but itís a West End theatre (which I always find a find a pain in the butt in terms of sight lines, leg room and foyers)

Do the NT have duty to fill their gap and give us a large healthy diet of the Bard or are they right to give their stages over to other writers

I personally feel Londoners are missing out


#2 armadillo

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 03:53 PM

Personally I think the NT is right to concentrate on new writers, interesting revivals and the sort of productions that are unlikely to be performed elsewhere. After all there are still plenty of places to see Shakespeare in London (eg. the Globe which is only 15 minutes walk from the NT and the prices aren't that high) but who else will do the sort of things the NT do? It's not hard to see Shakespeare - it's much harder to see musicals at affordable prices. And, while I take your point about not liking the WE (I'm not a frequent visitor myself!), I don't think the NT can be blamed for poor legroom in Shaftesbury Avenue! Nor is Hytner responsible for Adrian Noble's folly. I agree that they could do one play a year (did they do any last year?) but there are plenty of other worthwhile authors out there who don't get a look-in at all.

As for no Shakespeare at affordable prices - I saw the Propeller productions at the Old Vic via Get Into London Theatre for £20 each for excellent stalls seats. There's plenty around if you look.

#3 Tulip

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 04:24 PM

I too think the NT can't be blamed for the RSC's silly mistake, IMHO. (I also think the Arts Council should intervene and make one of the biggest arts organisations play in more suitable venues; fairer pricing, better disabled access, free cloakrooms etc Ö but thisnít really a debate about the RSC in London)

I would rather chew off my own ears then attend the Globe!

Personally I much prefer the style of production you get by Propeller but my concern is that England's Ďgreatestí playwright isnít getting the treatment he deserves. Surely he deserves at least one big spectacular a year? And currently the NT can provide that


#4 sanderling

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 04:49 PM

QUOTE(Tulip @ Apr 2 2007, 04:44 PM) View Post
I personally feel Londoners are missing out



<loud cough>

Oh dear. How disconcerting for you. Try sticking a pin in the map anywhere else in the UK, look at the local theatre scene, and see if you still think the same.

#5 Jaybee

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 04:54 PM

RSC in the West End? Fair Prices?? Their top end isn't badly priced at all, but the dreadful 'cheap' seat I got for £17 for Much Ado was a really cynical piece of pricing. Could see all the stage if I leant forward all night but the leg room was dire and the seats really uncomfortable.

#6 Job

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 06:25 PM

What I miss is the kind of 'luxury' Shakespeare experience I used to get at the Barbican and the NT. I love pared down productions, but the thrill of a shiny, polished production appears to be lost to us - for the time being at any rate. You can't luxuriate in Shakespeare when you see it in a cramped west end house the way you can in, say the Lyeeetelton or the Barbican main house.

Job
With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.

#7 David

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 06:30 PM

QUOTE(Tulip @ Apr 2 2007, 04:44 PM) View Post
I personally feel Londoners are missing out


And I personally feel you're having a laugh.

Furthering sanderling's point; I can only talk for myself, but I'm certain that I'm not in the worst position in terms of local theatre scene.
I live roughly the same distance the other side of Stratford as London, only I have no local West End for them to visit. I also have only 2 theatres (neither producing) that I can reach without having to make a 'big trip' out of it (i.e. journey time within an hour).

In my home town there were (I believe) 4 Shakespeare productions last year- two were 'Shakespeare for Kids', one was, though not marketed as such, very similar (and hugely patronising), and the other was on for one night, and whilst apparantly quite good, only available to around 100 people who were available that evening.

I don't know how many Shakespeare productions there were last year in London, but there are, as you are so quick to discredit, several RSC productions a year (probably equal to the number of productions I manage to see at Stratford), the Chocolate Factory and other fringe venues, and at least 95 others listed here. There are also one-off venues such as that used for Faust,  tiny venues that are often described as 'rooms above pubs', and even numerous drama schools which put on regular productions.

I apologise for making such a list, and for focusing on myself, particularly to those living in even more remote areas, but it is a subject that I feel quite strongly about- you (or any other Londoner for that matter) should not be ungrateful, and would be utterly foolish to suggest that people elsewhere have it better.

#8 Tulip

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 07:19 PM

If our capital city can't muster one big Shakespeare production a year then what does that say about our national playwright?

Propeller, Donmar etc are great but we need a big showcase and the NT or the Barbican can do that but yet we're not getting it at the moment

#9 David

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 07:29 PM

But you do get several 'big Shakespeare productions'- one of the points I was trying to make was that the RSC DO come to London, and you can see what ought to have been the best plays from the Stratford seasons.

As for a 'big showcase', there is the Globe, which does primarily Shakespeare, and Stratford is only an hour or two away- the fact that you're the capital city as you point out is irrelevant to this argument- are you suggesting that all of the theatre industry in the country should move to London, because its officially the capital city?

I'm fairly sure that you aren't, and I agree with your original point, the NT could do some more Shakespeare, but I don't think you can claim that there isn't plenty of Shakespeare in London (certainly in the South, with the RSC as well, there is more than I could afford to see), and vehemently disagree with the suggestion that you're 'missing out'.

#10 Snout

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 08:04 PM

I'm glad Hytner tries new stuff and non-Shakespeare. The Regent's Park Open Air does some gentle Bard sometimes, but not great in mid winter, I admit.
Perhaps the Roundhouse could become a new regular Shakespeare venue?




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