Critic's Notebook: All the world's (mostly) a stage at the local cineplex


  • Johan Persson
  • SHADE: Gillian Anderson must learn to rely on the kindness of strangers as Blanche DuBois in the Young Vic's production of "A Streetcar Named Desire." The show will be broadcast to Atlanta movie theaters on September 16.

Live broadcasts from the world's major art institutions have become a big trend at movie theaters across the world in recent years, though the Atlanta market has apparently been tough to crack. Viewers in Macon have been enjoying broadcasts from Britain's National Theatre at the gorgeously evocative and historic old Douglass Theatre for several years, but Atlanta screenings of similar broadcasts have so far been relatively rare. This season may be different, however, as some intriguing offerings at local cineplexes in the next couple weeks seem to indicate that more may be on the way closer to home.

First up is X-Files star Gillian Anderson relying on the kindness of strangers as Blanche DuBois in the Young Vic's acclaimed production of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, with Ben Foster as Stanley. The broadcast will screen at local movie theaters including Hollywood 24 and Perimeter Pointe at 7 p.m., on Sept. 16.

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Strangely enough, that evening presents a dilemma for theater fans: Though Atlanta broadcasts of these shows have been rare, there are actually two interesting events scheduled for the same evening. Also on Sept. 16, Landmark Midtown Art Cinema will broadcast the Globe Theater in London's production of Twelfth Night. The show adheres to the Shakespearean tradition of casting men in the women's roles, and this one, starring Mark Rylance as Olivia and Stephen Fry as Malvolio, was a mega-hit when it first ran at the Globe and in subsequent runs on the West End and in New York. It plays at 7 p.m. on Sept. 16, at the Landmark:

If that doesn't satisfy your craving for live Shakespeare, then you'll want to check out the broadcast of the Royal Shakespeare Company's Two Gentlemen of Verona straight from the motherland of Stratford-on-Avon to the Lefont Sandy Springs on Sept. 20.

The broadcast events are one-off by nature, they're produced by different companies, and they're at different, and often beguilingly chosen (a drive to Snellville to catch a broadcast from La Scala, anyone?) venues, so they can be easy to miss, but they're worth trying to keep track of. Fathom Events produces a number of these. Upcoming screenings this season include the popular broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera (the 2014-15 series begins Oct. 11 with Macbeth) as well as broadcasts of Broadway shows and ballets from the Bolshoi. The Royal Opera House has a season of broadcasts that will at least partially be seen in Atlanta, and NT Live (which is broadcasting the Streetcar) has a fantastic season coming up, and hopefully we'll see more of it here. You can keep an eye on Shakespeare's Globe on Screen and RSC-Live for the occasional screening with an Atlanta location. In the meantime, for those who live nearby or don't mind a drive, the gob-smackingly gorgeous Douglass Theatre in Macon shows a lot of these: I've run into a surprising number of Atlantans at the shows, and the consensus seems to be that it's worth the drive, though it would be swell if we could skip it altogether and check these out at regularly at theaters closer to home.

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