So tonight I’m yet again blogging late because I spent most of this evening out at The Plaza Theatre, watching an RSC Live screening of Othello. I haven’t been to a live cinema broadcast before, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I have, however, read quite a lot about them, and their possible effects on the changing face of cinema, theatre, and the Arts in general. Some people have suggested that ‘event cinema’ – everything from live opera to live sports, is the salvation of a medium that might otherwise to lost to on-demand and internet television. From the arts side, there has been some backlash, claiming that it will damage regional theatres in the UK if touring companies decide it is easier and cheaper to simply broadcast their performances rather than leave the comfort of their home venue. Likewise, audiences may prefer the cheaper option of a cinema ticket, to the expense of the real thing. This is just within the United Kingdom too – it doesn’t even begin to take into account the international audiences who enjoy live screenings such as the one tonight.
This is something I’m sure certain arts organisations are looking into, but only time will tell whether this is beneficial or detrimental to the current, fragile state of the arts in this country. Meanwhile, I’m deeply glad that they happen. I have never seen the Rotal Shakespeare Company performing in the flesh, and if I do it may well be a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity. Tonight’s show was a thrilling and moving experience, and even if being at the other end of a satellite link hundreds of miles away meant I missed certain nuances (made up for, in my view, by the actor interviews and other additions during the performance’s interval) it was more than worth it.