It wasn’t all happiness in the kingdom Thursday night with the King’s daughters.
William Shakespeare’s “King Lear” was broadcasted live at 7 p.m. Thursday from the State Theatre. The performance was part of The National Theatre Live series that brings new performances to audiences worldwide.
For the first time, the show was broadcasted out of The Donmar Warehouse from the United Kingdom.
The Donmar Warehouse is a 250-seat theater that caters to a more intimate setting, said “King Lear” Director Michael Grandage. With only four rows of seating on each level, the audience remains very close to the actual performance.
“Something new will happen tonight that’s never happened before,” Grandage said. “It’s about interpreting it for you at that moment. That’s the beauty of it.”
After talk of collaboration on “King Lear” for more than 10 years, Grandage and Derek Jacobi came together on a final product. Jacobi, playing King Lear, originally approached Grandage about the performance.
“He wanted to play King Lear and he asked me to [direct] it,” Grandage said. “Out of our views came a great production.”
With the story of deception and love, the plot line had no trouble finding commonplace with the audience, said audience member and Director of the School of Theatre Dan Carter.
“It’s a great play about generations and the struggles between parents and children,” Carter said. “Sometimes we lose sight of what’s important.”
But for Carter, these plays offer everything that live theater does.
“This is one of the greatest theaters in the world,” Carter said. “It’s the only alternative to jumping in a plane and flying to London.”
Carter attends the performances with his wife, Ruby Allen, when time permits, and last night was no different.
“We need to get over the idea of the old days of theater,” Carter said. “These [broadcasts] are everything that theater is.”
Allen was quick to add the opportunity was as close to live theater as you can get.
Marketing Director Kristy Cyone of the State Theatre said the broadcasts are growing in popularity.
“The National Theatre Live is growing as a series, and seeing as it’s Shakespeare, we could have a much bigger turnout,” she said prior to the show.
But for Grandage, the turnout was bigger than he could ever have imagined.
“It’s a little nerve-wracking with tens of thousands of people watching,” he said.
When “King Lear” finishes its run at the Donmar, it will tour across the United Kingdom and then make its way to New York City.
As for now, the broadcast is the best they can do. And for Carter, it was a social outing too.
“It’s a chance to stay cosmopolitan and stay in Happy Valley,” he said.