Portlanders, you have it all. You’re surrounded by a rich green sea of evergreens, have your choice of hundreds of tantalizing microbrews and coffee shops, and you never have to pump your own gas. Well, almost all. When the biggest names on international stages strut the boards, you often miss out on the live experience.
Not any more, though. Thanks to the National Theatre Live Encore Festival, you can fully immerse yourself in the best of British theatre as played out on a London stage, without ever leaving Stumptown. Third Rail presents this festival of theatrical productions, captured live onstage and presented here in high-definition video that promises the kind of close-ups of the big stars that the original audience members could only dream of. One weekend, six plays, a veritable galaxy of stars. We’ve broken it down for you.
The Play: Man and Superman, by Bernard Shaw
The Premise: The fast talking, radically inclined bachelor, Jack Tanner reluctantly becomes the guardian to a young girl who challenges his beliefs in this philosophical romantic comedy of the early 20th century.
The Draw: Academy Award Winner Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Schindler’s List) and Indira Varma (Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love, Game of Thrones).
The Critics: “Watching Mr. Fiennes seize the stage and then hold it across more than three hours in the National Theater’s rousing new production of Man and Superman, I felt as if an actor I’d long-known had been reborn.” Matt Wolf, NY Times
The Time: Friday, August 28th at 7pm
The Play: Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Premise: On a stormy night an inn keeper’s granddaughter opens the door to a swashbuckling pirate with a chest full of mysteries and adventures, kicking off a voyage to exotic locales.
The Draw: A set design that had critics swooning.
The Critics: “Lizzie Clachan’s set, dominated by a semicircle of giant tusks, redolent both of a wrecked hull and a creature's carcass, is a thing of wonder.” Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph
The Time: Saturday, August 29th at 11am
The Play: Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
The Premise: George and Lennie travel across California during the Great Depression with a dream of one day owning land.
The Draw: James Franco (127 Hours, Milk) and Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids, Girls).
The Critics: “The ensemble acting is flawless. The design work is breathtaking. And Steinbeck’s Depression-based views on the human connections that are our only hope of survival in desperate times are just as relevant — even imperative — for living through our own cruel times.” Marilyn Stasio, Variety
The Time: Saturday, August 29th at 3pm
The Play: Skylight, by David Hare
The Premise: In a small, cramped London apartment, a story of impossible, emotionally intense love between Tom and decades younger Kyra, is told.
The Draw: Brits Bill Nighy (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Love Actually) and Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby, An Education).
The Critics: “Mulligan, a spectacular Bill Nighy, the marvelous newcomer Matthew Beard and the director Stephen Daldry make alchemy onstage with their own red-hot talent.” Mark Kennedy, Associated Press
The Time: Saturday, August 29th at 7pm
The Play: A View From the Bridge, by Arthur Miller
The Premise: In 1950s Brooklyn, Eddie Carbone an Italian, longshoreman becomes overprotective of his niece, with tragic consequences.
The Draw: Mark Strong (The Imitation Game, Oliver Twist)
The Critics: “Theatre simply doesn't get better than this.” David Finkle, Huffington Post
The Time: Sunday, August 31st at 2pm
The Play: John, by Lloyd Newson
The Premise: A life pervaded by abuse, drugs, anguish and perseverance is expressed through intense physical movement in this real-life story of a man named John.
The Draw: Hannes Langolf (DV8 Physical Theatre’s To Be Straight With You and Can We Talk About This?)
The Critics: "It is an extraordinary achievement, nothing quite like anything you have seen before… It’s visceral, astonishing, enlightening and surprising all at once.” Stephen Collins, BritishTheatre.com
The Time: Sunday, August 31st at 7pm
Encore runs from Aug 28 -30th. All shows at the Imago Theatre.