The English theatre is adjusting to the realities of the lockdown, which started earlier and lasted longer in the UK than here. With theatres still closed, some companies have started broadcasting plays via Zoom. The difference with YouTube streaming is that on Zoom the show is performed live, it has a short run, there is no recording and you need to buy tickets. Very close to the idea of real theatre: if you haven’t been there, you haven’t seen it.
I’ve attended a monologue play Three Kings written by Stephen Beresford and performed by Andrew Scott. It was a peculiar experience seeing a favourite actor on my Zoom screen. Andrew Scott was performing to an empty auditorium but to a thousand homes.
The play explores the issue of fatherhood, especially failed fatherhood and its repercussions for children and family. It’s a painful and heartbreaking monologue made even more so by the strength of Scott’s acting.
It was a very special treat for two reasons. First, I love Noel Coward’s style. I know that I’ll be laughing myself silly no matter what play of his I watch. Secondly, the cast included Emilia Clarke, who I adore, and Emma Thompson, who’s always the best.
This Zoom event was a “virtual table-read” of the first act of the play. The four actors were reading their parts each in their own home.
It felt incredibly intimate, more intimate than Three Kings, to have these incredible actors on Zoom. My kids thought I was teaching my students 🙂 they didn’t see a difference.
The play is about a divorced couple who get passionate about each other after a long separation and their second marriages. In love as they are, they soon find themselves bickering and fighting, back to the volatile relationship that ended their marriage in the first place. All that is accompanied by Noel Coward’s witty and sparkling humour.
Although it was a rather informal read-through, it was very engaging, with the actors adding something unique to each character. The reading was followed by a casual conversation and Q&A where it became clear that the audience was left wanting more. I also hope the team will come back with acts two and three.