November’s ‘Live’ productions at the Wellesley Cinema begin with George Balanchine’s ‘Jewels’ transmitted from the Bolshoi’s Mariinsky Theatre in Moscow on Sunday 8 November at 3pm.
Inspired by New York’s famous 5th Avenue jewellery shops, this triptych is a tribute to women and the cities of Paris, New York and Saint Petersburg. Described as a ‘unique full-length three-act abstract ballet’, it was first performed in 1967 by New York City Ballet. Bolshoi Ballet’s first production of the whole ballet on 5 May 2012 received particular critical acclaim.
In each of the three acts Balanchine expresses the essence of, in turn, emeralds, rubies and diamonds with music from different composers and incorporating different balletic styles. ‘Emeralds’, set to music by Fauré, is dreamily romantic, ‘Rubies’ with music by Stravinsky is fiery and captures the energy of jazz-age New York and ‘Diamonds’, using music from Tchaikovsky’s Third Symphony, evokes the grandeur of Imperial Russia.
The hit Broadway production of Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’, filmed on stage in New York by National Theatre Live before an invited audience at the end of the play’s US run, comes to the Wellesley on Thursday 19 November at 7.15. James Franco and Chris O’Dowd star in the screening of a ‘riveting, powerful production’ (Independent).
This is the National Theatre’s first Broadway production to be screened live in cinemas around the world. Steinbeck’s novel – which he adapted for the stage – is an examination of friendship and failure. Set in California in the Great Depression of the early 1930’s it tells the story of itinerant ranch hands, George and his poignantly simple companion, Lennie, whose hopes and fragile dreams of building a stable future are tragically destroyed.
The Independent’s theatre critic said, “‘Of Mice and Men’ is an excellent Broadway revival fuelled by Franco who offers a welcome illustration of what can happen when a star sheds his other more modern personas and takes to the stage to simply act.”
Kenneth Branagh has put together an impressive cast for his newly formed company’s production of Shakespeareʼs ‘The Winter’s Tale’ which is screened live on Thursday 26 November at 7.15. Judy Dench plays Paulina with Branagh as Leontes, Michael Pennington as Antigonus, Tom Bateman as Florizel and Jessie Buckley as Perdita.
In the play Shakespeare explores the themes of jealousy and redemption. Leontes has power, wealth, a loving and loyal wife, a young family and friends. But his savagely irrational – and sudden – jealousy causes him to destroy his family. Years of guilt and remorse only end when he is fortuitously reconciled with his wife, Hermione, and finds the daughter whose death he believed he had ordered.
The popularity of live relays to cinemas from theatres and opera houses around the world continues to grow rapidly. To challenge the argument that attendance at theatres could be threatened by live transmissions, recent research by innovation charity Nesta suggests that transmitting live shows to cinemas does not affect ticket sales in the theatres themselves.