Joho the Blog » Shakespeare performance is over? Put it on line!

Shakespeare performance is over? Put it on line!

We just came from a fantastic production of Love’s Labor’s Lost by Shakespeare & Co. in Lenox, Mass. I’ve lauded this company before (often), but this afternoon’s show was among the very best we’ve seen. The second half especially was both hilarious and very touching. At least the way they played it this time — we saw it here years ago — the ending was a criticism of the play’s own wit as a way to dodge true knowledge. That Shakespeare guy really could write!

I’d recommend you see it, but this was the last performance. Which makes me wonder (once again) why a company like this doesn’t video one of the performances and put it up on the Web for free. Why the heck not? It would only encourage attendance, and would raise the company’s prominence.

And Shakespeare & Co. also holds informal talks about their performances. Why not video them and put them up on the Web for people who are about to see any company’s performance of the play?

There may be a simple answer to this. For example, as my nephew pointed out, some of the performers are in Actors Equity and there may be rules against posting performances for free. If so, what a waste and disservice to their members! For example, it would only help Josh Aaron McCabe‘s career for people to see his performance as Berowne this afternoon.

Or it may be simply that the default at Shakespeare & Co. hasn’t switched to open-when-done. But that only requires the Will. I just hate to see this love’s labor lost.

5 Responses to “Shakespeare performance is over? Put it on line!”

  1. Part of the challenge is that videoing a Shakespeare play is actually quite hard. Unless you do a locked off wide shot of the whole stage (which might be more viable in the age of cheap HD), you need multiple cameras covering the actors, careful microphony, and a lot of editing in post production.
    Our expectations of filmed performance are set by hiuely competent professional video professionals.

  2. Good point. But I would take a free, amateur-ish vid of the performance over no vid at all. And our expectations are simultaneously being trained to seeing performances recorded on handheld mobile phones.

    I’m pretty sure the audio is run through some type of board anyway because the Company offers audio through headsets fort the hard of hearing.

  3. I’ve seen many performances here, and many with my brother, and would agree that it would be terrific to see these on line. It would help to be able to review those subtle turns of phrase familiar to Shakespeare’s audiences but perhaps not so much to our ears. It would certainly be a reminder of the terrific acting that was presented and the directing that guided it.

    I am sure that watching one of Shakespeare & Company’s performances on a small (even TV-sized) screen would not deter me for a moment from seeing it in person. The immediacy of the performers (not to mention their 3-D nature in person!) is not replaced by a bunch of electrons. Not to mention the possibility of meeting, and thanking, or seeing, performers and directors such as Tony Simotes, Jonathan Croy, John Douglas Thompson, Jason Asprey, Tina Packer herself, and many others, all of whom we have encountered in the lobby over the last year.

    Bring on the videos.

  4. I just returned home from seeing the same play in the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City. Although excellently acted, it was surpassed by their productions of The Tempest and Twelve Angry Men. Amazing to find so much talent in such a remote but extraordinarily beautiful setting.

    I had the same thought — wishing for videos even knowing they’d never equal the experience of live performances.

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