Hop simulcasts live production

by Maya Poddar | 1/29/14 3:43pm

Hours after the National Theatre performs Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus” this afternoon, the Hopkins Center will show a high-definition recording of the production.

“Coriolanus,” written about a decade after “Julius Caesar” in the early 1600s, is a return to Shakespeare’s fascination with ancient Rome. The play portrays the life of Roman leader Caius Marcius Coriolanus during the 5th century B.C.

One of Shakespeare’s most political works, “Coriolanus” charts the rise and fall of the general who finds himself running for consul of Rome after being pushed by his overbearing mother, only to be run out of town by angry citizens.

“Coriolanus is one of the strangest of tragic heroes because he’s not a likeable person,” professor Lynda Boose said.

Although Coriolanus is not a sympathetic character, Boose added that he maintains an integrity one “must admire” even if he is hard to like. The National Theatre’s production stars Tom Hiddleston, who played Loki in “Thor” (2011).

Given its political nature, the play has a rich history, with directors presenting the ancient struggle between plebeians and tribunes differently over time.

In the 1950s, a production of the play caused an uproar because many considered it to have communistic overtones, Boose said.

Once the National Theatre chooses a performance to record, all participating theaters — around 200 U.S. organizations including the Hop — can show the work.

The Hop’s film manager Sydney Stowe called the National Theatre one of the most important theatrical houses in Britain.

The Hop, which is scheduled to screen other National Theatre performances in February and March, offers most recorded performances on the live date to preserve the theatrical experience, Stowe said.

Though the National Theatre decides which shows to record, Dartmouth partners with By Experience, a New York-based company, to transfer the screen.

Later this term, the Hop will show two productions of “War Horse,” which was originally released in 2011. In the spring, the Hop will also screen two versions of “Frankenstein,” which feature Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller alternating between the two lead roles.