Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London is screening three magnificent plays in Peebles’ Eastgate Theatre, starting on Thursday, January 9, with Henry V.
The performances, filmed at the famous wooden theatre on the Thames’ banks, feature great actors performing some of the best roles ever written, each filmed to capture the energy of live performances.
Twelfth Night, featuring Stephen Fry and Mark Rylance, follows Henry V on Thursday, February 6, with the outrageous comedy The Taming of the Shrew on Thursday, March 13, starring Samantha Spiro as Katherina. Henry V, directed by Dominic Dromgoole, features young actor Jamie Parker as Henry V, who also starred in the film and stage versions of The History Boys.
Henry V, William Shakespeare’s masterpiece of the turbulence of war and the art of peace, tells the romantic story of Henry’s campaign to recapture the English possessions in France. But the ambitions of this charismatic king are challenged by a host of vivid characters caught up in the real horrors of war.
The Eastgate’s Liz Taylor writes: “Henry V celebrates the power of language to summon into life courts, pubs, ships and battlefields within the ‘wooden O’ – and beyond. Filmed from the very best seat in the house, this is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the unique charm of the world-famous Globe Theatre and these critically acclaimed performances.”
When Globe on Screen launched last year, screen director Ross MacGibbons, who filmed all of the performances in this year’s run, said: “What I don’t do is try to make a movie or a TV show. It’s much more inclusive and intimate.”
Describing how the performances are filmed, he added: “We tone down their makeup and, as film makers, we try to blend into the background as much as possible. It’s a difficult place to shoot for light.”
Twelfth Night is one of the Globe’s ‘Original Practices’ performances. These are recreations of how the first productions of the plays would have been performed at the Globe in the early 17th century. They explore the costumes, music and dance of the time and, of course, feature an all-male cast.
Twelfth Night stars a cross-dressing Mark Rylance as Olivia, Stephen Fry as Malvolio, and is filmed in high definition. It garnered a host of five-star reviews, including the Telegraph’s theatre critic Charles Spencer, who called the production “sensational”, and it was performed in Broadway at the Belasco Theatre to critical acclaim.
Ben Brantley for the New York Times commented on Fry’s Broadway debut: “This is how Shakespeare was meant to be done. I can’t remember being so ridiculously happy for the entirety of a Shakespeare performance.
“Contrary to most versions of Twelfth Night, the foibles of these characters are never exaggerated into grotesqueness, just as the men playing women do not speak in falsettos or flounce about. Even the puritanical Malvolio, usually an ugly gargoyle, is refreshingly embodied by Mr Fry with the complacency and affectation of someone you might recognise from your own office. When he becomes the target of a sadistic revenge plot, for once you feel for the guy.”
Henry V starts at 7pm, costing £12 (schoolchildren £8). For more details, go to www.eastgatearts.com