NT Live at Third Rail | A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE by Arthur Miller

All Ivo van Hove, all the time. The force of this live experience is all about the director, and he takes it to Greek tragedy. At the center, an all-consuming performance from Mark Strong as Eddie. As van Hove says in intro, theatre has to be more than TV entertainment.

Plays again on Apr 26

Coming soon to NT Live | Ivo van Hove’s A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE wins three awards at 2015 Oliviers

What does a real director do?

She makes the known and familiar new and threatening. He creates the visual equivalent of unforgettable lines – live moments with living bodies that burn into your memory forever. S/he scares the shit out of you with how good theatre can be.

When it comes to creating a world class live theatre event, a good director is essential. You can take a great play on the page and read it aloud and have a pretty good time. But you can only attain those 5 star lifetime highs in the theatre with a good – nay great – director. For the director is co-creator with the playwright.

Ivo van Hove is the kind of director you want to be around. He creates unforgettable live performance that demonstrates what is possible. He creates events that are unmissable, must-see (and usually sold out) tickets. It’s the kind of experience you can’t get in film. And it’s worth throwing yourself on 99 duds in the theatre as long as every 100th time a van Hove comes along.

Today van Hove’s Young Vic production of A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE snagged three Olivier awards. Not bad for a show with a bare stage.

The bad news: the show was on in London and closed yesterday. The good news: it’s on in Portland via NT Live the next two weekends.

So in this case, the only way on earth you can see this show now is on NT Live.

Yes, it’s the screen. But still. If you’ve got a taste for world class theatre, NT Live it your outlet in Portland.

In a film comes a reminder of how good theatre can be | BIRDMAN is a mesmerizing display of dramatic and narrative firepower

Not being much of a moviegoer, I’m late to the BIRDMAN party. But it’s still on, and oh what a feast of drama awaits. For theatre people, all those shots of the interior of the St. James – and especially with an audience – are pretty thrilling. But what really impresses is the relentless burning fuse of a story that must be told.

Going to the theatre should feel just like this film. It should be sharp, a bit nasty, edgy, impolite and downright scary. It should be exciting, shocking, upending. It should even be life and death.

Compare that to what you often get instead. Cue the crickets and the senior citizen daycare orderlies.

Writers take note. Make your plays this entrancing and funny and human – and they’ll actually get produced.

On the beaten path | WILD (the movie) is an unremarkable trip that delivers little adventure or insight

Steven Soderbergh he ain’t. And Bill Kittredge she ain’t. Unwatchably dull. As fake and cliched as the PCT is long, WILD (the movie) is an old-fashioned melodrama with countless unintentionally hilarious “NOOOOOOO!” moments when our heroine gasps in slow motion at the horror of it all. Some truly excruciating writing as tough to get through as any wilderness area, and plenty of stereotyped, paper thin men. For anyone familiar with the Oregon territory traversed here, every note rings false. If you want to see a real movie about real women in Oregon, please god go watch Kelly Reichardt’s timeless 2010 masterpiece MEEK’S CUTOFF.

Cheryl Strayed at the 2013 Oregon Book Awards.
Cheryl Strayed at the 2013 Oregon Book Awards.

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