Sunday, November 15, 2020

The Great Divorce

There is a stage presentation of The Great Divorce online, by the Fellowship For The Performing Arts. I watched it today and it remains available online until Nov 18. I give it a mostly positive review.  Each of the ensemble actors has a role they don't quite land on, and Jonathan Hadley's occur very early on, spoiling much of the first fifteen minutes.  The first residents of heaven we meet are insufferable and one can see why the visitors from hell might not want to join them.  It gets better.  It ends reasonably well, and if you watch you can save yourself the trouble of reading the book, because the production does stay true to the book.  You will want to actually read the book itself next time, when the Spirit prompts you to reread.

Stage plays and movies are not the same art, and putting a stage production on film is quite tricky.  The effects that work on a stage do not do so well when filmed, but attempting to go for movie-style effects destroys the staged quality altogether.  I grant that the task is very difficult, but I also have to say that they don't do them all that well. It will take you a while to adjust.  One of the great things about theater, however, is that we do adjust, accepting the conventions one by one as they are placed in front of us and putting them in the background so that we can enjoy the show.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

There are several examples, I think, of great stage plays brought to film.

The two most obvious ones are:

12 Angry Men went the other way, and you can see why it works on stage as well as on film.