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Classics on TV: BFI Southbank programme, 26 June 2012

Tonight sees the fifth – and final – programme in the five-night Screen Plays season Classics on TV: Greek Tragedy on the Small Screen at BFI Southbank. This evening we will see Iphigenia at Aulis, Don Taylor’s production of Euripides’ play for BBC Television in 1990. This happens to be the last full production of … Continue reading

‘Greek Tragedy on the Small Screen’: University of Westminster symposium

On Friday afternoon around thirty people, including a number of friends and colleagues, gathered at the University of Westminster in Regent Street for the Screen Plays symposium about Greek tragedy on British television. Dr Amanda Wrigley brought together five experts on the subject for discussions to complement the hugely successful BFI Southbank season. Following are notes from my own enjoyment of the event but, if you were present on Friday, we would love to hear your thoughts and responses. Continue reading

Classics on TV: BFI Southbank programme, 23 June 2012

Today sees the fourth programme in the five-night Screen Plays season Classics on TV: Greek Tragedy on the Small Screen at BFI Southbank. This afternoon and evening we will see The Oresteia, the Channel 4 version of the landmark 1981 National Theatre production of Aeschylus’ trilogy directed by Peter Hall. (No tickets for the 3.50pm showing are available via the BFI website but it may be worth getting on the standby list in case some become available immediately before the performance.) Following the earlier screenings we tried an experiment, inviting anyone who was at the screening to contribute their thoughts about the programme on this blog. That experiment has been really successful, and so we will continue it for the two remaining screenings. Any and all responses would be welcome, however brief – and John Wyver and I will also be offering some further thoughts. Continue reading

Classics on TV: BFI Southbank programme, 19 June 2012

Tonight sees the third programme in the five-night Screen Plays season Classics on TV: Greek Tragedy on the Small Screen at BFI Southbank. No tickets for the 6.10pm showing are available via the website but it may be worth getting on the standby list in case some become available immediately before the performance. Tonight’s screening is of Agamemnon, the first part of the 1979 BBC Television version of Aeschylus’ Oresteia ​trilogy which was transmitted under the title The Serpent Son, followed by the original, quasi-satyr play Of Mycenae and Men. Following the earlier two screenings on 7 and 13 June we tried an experiment, inviting anyone who was at the screening to contribute their thoughts about the programme on this blog. That experiment was really successful, and so we will continue it for further screenings. Any and all responses would be welcome, however brief – and John Wyver and I will also be offering some further thoughts. Continue reading

Classics on TV: BFI Southbank programme, 13 June 2012

Tonight sees the second programme in the five-night Screen Plays season Classics on TV: Greek Tragedy on the Small Screen at BFI Southbank. A few tickets are still available for the 6.15pm showing which features Electra (Associated-Rediffusion for ITV, 1962) and Women of Troy (BBC, 1958), followed by a panel discussion with actor and director Fiona Shaw and classical scholar Oliver Taplin of the University of Oxford. You can book via the BFI website. Following the first screening on 7 June we tried an experiment, inviting anyone who was at the screening to contribute their thoughts about the programme on this blog. That experiment was really successful, and so we will continue it for further screenings. Any and all responses would be welcome, however brief – and John Wyver and I will also be offering some further thoughts. Continue reading

Classics on TV: BFI Southbank programme, 7 June 2012

Tonight sees the first programme in the five night Screen Plays season Classics on TV: Greek Tragedy on the Small Screen at BFI Southbank. A few tickets are still available for the 6.10pm showing which features Oedipus the King (BBC/The Open University, 1977) and Play of the Month: King Oedipus (BBC, 1972); you can book via the BFI website. We would like to try an experiment and invite anyone who is at the screening to contribute their thoughts about the programmes in the Comments below. Any and all responses would be welcome, however brief – and Amanda Wrigley and I will also be offering some further thoughts. Continue reading

The Comedy of Errors (Royal Shakespeare Company/ATV, 1978)

The new Network DVD release of the 1978 television presentation of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Comedy of Errors, which premiered in 1976, reveals both stage and television versions as curious – and in many ways unsatisfying – hybrids. Given that over this past weekend I have been in Stratford filming a hybrid version of the RSC’s Julius Caesar, it feels particularly timely to review the disc. Just as the production team of The Comedy of Errors did, we were filming in the RSC’s main theatre (which has been extensively remodelled since 1978), although – as also with Comedy – most of our production has been shot away from the theatre. But the thirty-four years that separate the shoots have seen fundamental changes in production technologies, and our approach to Julius Caesar is significantly different. Moreover, and this is another advantage that our Caesar enjoys over this Comedy, our stage original is not blighted by some truly dreadful modern musical songs. Continue reading