CHEERS and here’s to a wonderful 2015 -full of applause
How alive is a live Broadcast?
“I will never go to a live broadcast, it’s not the same, nothing will persuade me that a remote camera shot will capture the magic and mystical exchanges between collective audience and actors being watched upon a stage,” that s what I said three years ago but then a Russian colleague persuaded me,” you have to try the live broadcasts from The Bolshoi it’s just like being there you will be surprised when you leave the theatre that you are still in your home town and not in Moscow”. So, dearest colleague I am now eternally grateful to you-Oh me of little faith !
Since then I have been to many live broadcasts, more recently to see The RSC ’s, King Lear The Henry s, Two Gentlemen of Verona among the NT’ s performances,” A Street Car Named Desire”, all wonderful and the recent, Nutcracker live from Moscow, Oh again what a revelation Oh, the joys of live performances, the benefits! The shorter distances travelled, the train fares saved, no London theatre prices Just the price of a local cinema ticket -at last culture to the masses, and more importantly making the impossible become a reality, how could I have flown to Moscow for the evening to see The Nutcracker at the Bolshoi, or had the energy to drive across country to Stratford, to book a hotel for the night etc. after a day at work?
So, what exactly do we lose in transmission? Do we lose anything ? Well, personally I have missed the applause , my fellow spectator s whoops for encores and whistles from the seat next to mine. All replaced by…….silence.
WHY do people not applause at the end of the live performance ? Is it just the places I go to?
The remote audience has only clapped once at any performances that I have been to in the past year and that was n t always the same cinema or theatre or even town. Only one audience clapped themselves silly over King Lear but I don’t think it means that King Lear was a better production then any of the others. Recently I have noticed audiences fidget around uncomfortably in their seats at the end, probably saying to themselves oh well the actors can’t hear me so I’m not going to show myself up and look ridiculous. Applause is what the theatre is all about, surely? defined as “approval publicly expressed (as by clapping the hands)” Being physically removed from the actual live theatre shouldn’t count , it should nt matter that the actual actors can’t hear us and surely the Bolshoi Ballet deserved the round of applause for the behind the scenes interviews of the dancers and scenes of ballet goers in front of the Christmas tree taking photographs –the magnificence of the Bolshoi theatre setting and the orchestra, and the trilingual presenter .
Yes , we observe the ballet through a lens, maybe twice but I can’t have been the only one to clap
Has the 8th Age of Theatre dawned?
Do you clap?
Does your cinema clap?
Please reassure me that people do still clap and holler and whistle and stamp their feet and if they do where you are ?( I’m sure the West End applauds)
Sigh, raise my glass and say CHEERS and here to a wonderful 2015 (full of applause)
J Bowell all rights reserved