National Theatre, National Treasure

This article was originally published in PRODIJEE MAGAZINE #20 

The National Theatre is an institution and one that after this summer I am thrilled to say I will –finally- have been apart of it in one small way or another. I am attending the National Youth Theatre’s Epic Stages six-week program. Culminating in theatrical performances in the West End, it will be a truly incredible experience and one I shall write about later in the summer. If you have the chance to be apart of the NYT (National Youth Theatre) you should JUMP at it. Its previous alumni consist of the likes of Daniel Day-Lewis, David Suchet, Matt Lucas and Dame Helen Mirren!
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In regards to my recent theatre experiences I have been treated to some truly incredible theatre ALL at the ‘National’. Firstly, at the Nationals ‘SHED’ (a temporary venue until 2016) was “Yellow Face” by David Henry Hwang, it tackles the difficult and confusing issue of race with emphasis on ‘colour-blind casting’. Set in America it delves in to the difficulty faced around casting race on stage and the confusion of race in daily life. Set in the round this mocumentary is as funny as it is informative. The cast of seven were stupendous and with most of the actors portraying multiple characters they all preformed with real truth and depth.

I then got to see “The Silver Tassie” a play by Sean O’Casey, written in 1923 about the truly depressing affects and reality of war. It was visually stunning and continuously left me breathless. Set in Dublin and on the frontline this production used expressionism and realism to depict the horrors, torment and torture of war. Repetition, song and poetry are used throughout this play along with some extremely well timed and visually stunning pyrotechnics and stage design, at one point the entire set is transformed from a sitting room in to the frontline of war with the backdrop of an abandoned church. Unsettling and beautiful this powerhouse of a play is performed by a glorious cast with expert performances by all. It persistently evokes sadness and the lead performance by Ronan Raftery who has a glorious transformation going from his town’s football hero to a ‘cripple’, angry at the world… his character cries out -putting it perfectly- “The lord has given and the lord has taken away”.

Getting to see “Michael Palin in conversation” was a blissful evening! His comic timing and outlook on the entertainment industry and life was fascinating, insightful and downright hysterical. The National Theatre continually have these “In Conversation” talks/debates and all of them are three pounds a seat, they are a steal and truly cheap treat so be sure to check who is on and book in advance!

Thankfully no matter where you are in the world you too can enjoy the National Theatre due to the NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE! You can catch numerous productions current and previous anywhere in the world. Log on now to find out where and when you can sit down in your favorite cinema and watch the awe inspiring Helen Mirren play Queen Elizabeth in “The Audience”, Mark Gatiss in “Coriolanus” or Bill Nighy in “Skylight”! Check out the NTLive website to find out more information-