For the past five years, there have been amazing opportunities to see professional theater performances right here at our very own Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. You may ask, “How can professional performances be here in our proverbial backyard?” The answer to this puzzling question comes from something known as National Theatre Live.
NT Live has broadcasted performances of London’s National Theatre to movie theaters and art centers such as the Quick Center since June 2009.
I decided to check out Thursday’s performance of “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Before the show, I had a chance to catch up with the Assistant Director of Programming and Audience Development at the Quick Center, Lori Jones. Although Jones is still new to Fairfield (she started working here last November), she is certainly no stranger to the arts.
“I’ve been working in the arts all along,” said Jones.
After more discussion, I soon discovered the appeal of these NT Live productions. “There’s a wonderful response from the greater Fairfield community. The quality of the camera work is great. It’s close to a live experience,” Jones said. She laughingly added, “You don’t have to fly all the way to London to see the National Theatre performances and the prices of tickets are quite reasonable.”
However, when asked what the Fairfield student response to NT Live shows was like, Jones responded, “It’s mostly non-students who come out to see the shows. Some of the Fairfield students who are into theater get into it, and some of the faculty members encourage their students to go.” There is definitely less of a turnout than there should be for this wonderful opportunity.
An hour later, settling comfortably into my seat in the center of the theater, I prepared for a brilliant performance of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and was not disappointed in the least. While the performance was certainly incredible, it was really the nearness to it that was so great. The camera offered many different angles that even the live audience was not able to see. Additionally, those who viewed the broadcast were able to get close-ups that the live audience was deprived of. Overall, the performance was great, and the perspective NT Live offered was an added bonus.
During intermission, as I was catching my breath after such a great first half, I was able to spot some fellow students sitting nearby. Sophomore Brendan McNamara has been to many of the NT Live productions in the past, including “King Lear” and “Othello.” “I come as often as I can,” he stated earnestly. “I already have my ticket to the next NT Live production, ‘Medea,’” he added with an excited smile.
When asked if he would encourage other students to attend an NT Live production, McNamara responded, “Yeah. It’s $15 to see really good theater. Very high quality, very cheap.”
Junior, Tori Schuchmann commented, “I think it’s fantastic. It’s really enjoyable. Watching it like a movie almost adds to it, because you can see more than even the [live] audience members see.”
After intermission, the audience was treated to previews of future NT Live performances that will be broadcasted at the Quick Center. These included “Frankenstein,”starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, and“Of Mice and Men,” starring James Franco and Chris O’Dowd. If you’re looking for something to do on a Thursday night, grab a ticket to one, or both, of these shows at the Quick Center Box Office. If these performances are anything like that of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” I promise you won’t regret it.