I’ve been writing about the Culture at the Cinema offerings for a number of months now, but for one reason or the other, I haven’t had the chance to actually attend myself.
For those who aren’t aware of what this is all about, Culture at the Cinema brings theater and ballet performances that were recorded live to the cinema screen, thus enabling people to see shows they might otherwise miss.
Last Saturday, I finally went to see the screening chosen for March – Sally Cookson’s interpretation of “Jane Eyre,” as shown at the National Theatre in the U.K.
The original live production, launched at the Bristol Old Vic, was staged over two nights and added up to at least four hours of performance time. It was subsequently cut to about three hours in one night in order to be staged at the National Theatre.
With the included intermission, I was committing to a fair chunk of Saturday night in order to attend. However, unlike live theater, I decided I could always leave early if it was not my cup of tea.
The admission ticket includes a glass of bubbly, and as I arrived, others were already chatting outside the theater door, glasses of pink sparkling wine in hand. There was also a full bar service with very reasonably priced drinks available for purchase. An Appleton and Coke, for example, would set you back $5. Come for the play, stay for the happy hour!
As there is the bar on the premises, only 18 years and older are allowed to attend these performances.
I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed every part of the evening. Minutes before the show began, we were given a view of audience members in the National Theatre taking their seats. What followed was a fantastic performance of “Jane Eyre,” with a live band on stage and many of the same actors playing different roles.
The intermission went for 20 minutes and immediately afterward we were treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the production, including interviews with the director and some of the lead performers. Then the second half began.
Perhaps it’s the ticket price that has been keeping some people from attending Culture at the Cinema performances. At $40, it can add up for a couple or larger group when you start including drinks and snacks. However, the experience is well worth it in my opinion, and I’m almost certain that after you’ve gone once, you’ll want to go again. I know I certainly do.
Coming up in April there’s Ralph Fiennes in “Man and Superman” and then Helen Mirren graces the screen with her presence in May for “The Audience.” I suggest you join me.
See www.bigscreen.ky for more information and upcoming performances.