Cinemapolis begins another year of live theater events on screen with the launch of the 2019 season of productions from National Theatre Live. NTL is the National Theatre’s groundbreaking project to broadcast the best of British theatre live from the London stage to cinemas across the UK and around the world, giving cinema-goers from Ithaca and beyond a chance to see world-class theatre without the pesky intercontinental airfare!
The year of NTL gets under way with Alan Bennett’s sharp and hilarious new play Allelujah! Filmed live at London’s Bridge Theatre during its limited run, don’t miss this acclaimed production full of ‘singalongs and stinging wit’ (Guardian). The Beth, an old fashioned cradle-to-grave hospital serving a town in Yorkshire, is threatened with closure as part of an efficiency drive. A documentary crew, eager to capture its fight for survival, follows the daily struggle to find beds on the Dusty Springfield Geriatric Ward, and the triumphs of the old people’s choir. One of Britain’s most celebrated writers, Alan Bennett’s plays include The History Boys, The Lady in the Van and The Madness of George III, all of which were also seen on film. Allelujah! is his tenth collaboration with award-winning director Nicholas Hytner. Allelujah! screens at Cinemapolis on Thursday, January 24 at 6:30 pm and again on Saturday, January 26 at 1:30 pm.
In February, Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo play Shakespeare’s famous fated couple in his great tragedy of politics, passion and power – Antony & Cleopatra. Caesar and his assassins are dead. General Mark Antony now rules alongside his fellow defenders of Rome. But at the fringes of a war-torn empire the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra and Mark Antony have fallen fiercely in love. In a tragic fight between devotion and duty, obsession becomes a catalyst for war. Director Simon Godwin returns to National Theatre Live screens with this hotly anticipated production, following broadcasts of Twelfth Night, Man and Superman and The Beaux’ Stratagem. Antony & Cleopatra screens at Cinemapolis on Thursday, February 14 at 6:30 pm and again on Saturday, February 16 at 1:30 pm.
Another Shakespearean classic arrives in March. Simon Russell Beale plays the title role in William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of King Richard The Second, broadcast live from the stage of the Almeida Theatre in London to cinemas. This visceral new production about the limits of power will be directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins, whose previous plays include Little Revolution at the Almeida and Absolute Hell at the National Theatre. Richard II, King of England, is irresponsible, foolish and vain. His weak leadership sends his kingdom into disarray and his court into uproar. Seeing no other option but to seize power, the ambitious Bolingbroke challenges the throne and the king’s divine right to rule. Simon Russell Beale returns to National Theatre Live screens following broadcasts of Timon of Athens and King Lear, and his recent role in the National Theatre’s critically acclaimed production of The Lehman Trilogy. The Tragedy of King Richard the Second screens at Cinemapolis on Thursday, March 21 at 6:30 pm and again on Saturday, March 23 at 1:30 pm.
April brings I’m Not Running, an explosive new play from David Hare. Pauline Gibson has spent her life as a doctor, the inspiring leader of a local health campaign. When she crosses paths with her old boyfriend, a stalwart loyalist in Labour Party politics, she’s faced with an agonising decision. What’s involved in sacrificing your private life and your piece of mind for something more than a single issue? Does she dare? Hare was recently described by The Washington Post as ‘the premiere political dramatist writing in English’. His other work includes Pravda and Skylight, broadcast by National Theatre Live in 2014. I’m Not Running screens at Cinemapolis on Thursday, April 25 at 6:30 pm and again on Saturday, April 27 at 1:30 pm.
As London’s stage season continues, more titles will be added for the rest of 2019. Tickets for each of these special, high-definition National Theatre Live broadcasts are available at the Cinemapolis box office and online at cinemapolis.org. General admission tickets are $22 each, with discounted $18 tickets available for students, seniors and Cinemapolis members. Due to this premium pricing, passes and multi-admission punch cards are not valid for National Theatre Live screenings.