No doubt you’ve heard about Britain’s National Theatre’s latest gambit – showing high-definition, "live-captured" screenings of selected shows? It got off to a great start with the much-lauded production of Phèdre, starring none other than Helen Mirren, and on the strength of that success, now has a whole season of filmed productions ready to tour the galaxy.
When I first heard about this, I was thrilled. Here was an opportunity to see outstanding international theater without first spending eight cramped hours in a fuselage with swine flu in continuous circulation. And I rushed to the laptop to google NT LIVE. Who would be stepping up to the bat? Northwest Film Center? The Art Museum? PCS? A university, peut-etre?
Nope. Nary a taker, and actually, as it turned out, with good reason. Showings require special, high-end gear that’s costly. So Portlanders were apparently out of luck.
Until now. Thanks to the forward-thinking folks at Third Rail Rep and some of their extremely generous (and anonymous) donors, the British are coming to Portland, Oregon. First up: All’s Well That’s Ends Well, a celebrated production directed by Marianne Eliot, on October 24.
Two more productions will air here next year, including an adaptation by the fab Mark Ravenhill and a premiere by Alan Bennett. And get this: tickets are 20 bucks. In London nowadays, that’s what you’ll pay for a pint and a really sad little shepherd’s pie. So thank you, Third Rail, for bringing London to us. Consider me first in line for tickets.