I find myself in the Batcave (my shared office with a PhD student, Seamus) on a quiet Sunday afternoon, contemplating lab work and life in general, and how I seem to be lacking time to write anything as of late. Things have been fairly busy, but I can barely recollect what I have been spending my time doing. I’ve still got some work to do today, and a long day tomorrow ahead of me.
Ah yes, there was that one thing.
Coriolanus (NT Live Streaming)
Yesterday was taken up primarily by Coriolanus, a Shakespeare play about a heroic Roman soldier, Gaius Martias, in the early days of the establishment of Rome who is thrust into political life, only to be shunned by the common people. It was screening in QFT, and streamed as part of National Theatre Live from the Donmar Warehouse theatre in Covent Garden, London, and starred Tom Hiddleston in the title role. The theatre itself is a tiny 251 seat affair, introducing its own set of challenges when it comes to props and maximising the use of space. The director did a good job with a basic set consisting of a wall and ladder and some chairs as props, and managed to capture the atmosphere of ancient Rome at a time before it was the all powerful Republic. I was not familiar with the story of Coriolanus prior to seeing the play, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. I particularly enjoyed Mark Gatiss’ portrayal of Menenius, a consul of the Senate, and beloved friend of Coriolanus. He injected humour into the role, while also bringing a serious side when required. The actual quality of the streaming was not close to the RSC production of Richard II, with some glitching and loss of colour at times, but it was still satisfactory. The makeup was also fantastic – the scars covering Coriolanus after the taking of Corioli were gorily realistic.
This is the second streamed play I have attended, and for those who haven’t experienced it, I would recommend going to see a performance like this. The dynamic quality introduced by multiple camera angles makes it feel closer to a live movie at times than a play, though thanks to the extremely high quality of the RSC coverage, it felt almost like being in the theatre.