Stratford Festival's CORIOLANUS Returns on Screen

Stratford Festival's CORIOLANUS Returns on Screen

After hosting last fall the US premiere of the live version of the Stratford Festival's groundbreaking production of Shakespeare'sCoriolanus, the Hopkins Center for the Arts brings back that "riveting, invigorating and smart" (Globe and Mail) production-this time as a high-definition (HD) video broadcast.

The screening takes place Friday, March 29, at 7 pm, in Spaulding Auditorium as part of weekend showcasing the work of the brilliant Canadian stage artist Robert Lepage, who directed and designed this Coriolanus. On Saturday and Sunday, March 30 and 31, the Hop presents Met Opera in HD: Die Walküre by Wagner, a revival of the production which Lepage created in 2011. Both productions demonstrate Lepage's dazzling ability to tell mesmerizing stories through innovative high-tech stagecraft.

The Coriolanus broadcast will be preceded at 6 pm by a pre-show discussion in the Top of the Hop titled "From Stage to Screen: The Art of HD Broadcasts," featuring long-time Stratford film editor George Roulston and Julie Borchard-Young, co-founder of By Experience, the company that pioneered HD broadcasts. The two will discuss the art of delivering live theater (Coriolanus) and the Metropolitan Opera (Die Walküre) to the silver screen.

In Coriolanus, a great warrior-turned-politician is despised by his people-and the feeling is mutual. The Stratford Festival's landmark production reveals the age-old tensions that tear at the heart of democracy-a theme that the Dartmouth campus explored this past fall with a dynamic series of talks by Stratford artists and Dartmouth scholars. In addition, Dartmouth students went to Stratford to see Coriolanus and other productions, meet artists and learn about the process of turning live theater into compelling HD video--so the screening brings this full circle. Both Stratford and the Hop regard the Coriolanus production as the start of a rich, ongoing creative and educational connection.

The HD video brings to the screen a work that critics greeted as groundbreaking in its technical effects and revelatory in how it brought Shakespeare's themes and characters to bear on contemporary issues of political power and public opinion. Praising the "thrilling stagecraft," The New York Times described the production as "essentially a live film" with innovative effects "used so incessantly here, with such technical skill and in such striking combinations, as to render them newly expressive." The raging masses are virtual: "By resetting dialogue-heavy scenes as talk radio gabfests, and representing the uninformed mob as anonymous voices on social media, Mr. Lepage helps clarify Shakespeare's portrait of a world, like ours, overwhelmed with insincerity."

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