Wednesday, October 10, 2012


What? You say you can't get to London for the fall theater season this year?

Here's the next best thing: why not enjoy London theater in the comfort and privacy of our own Del Mar Theatre, right here in downtown Santa Cruz.

Through the miracle of modern technology, Britain's acclaimed National Theatre of London is providing a live feed of each of the plays in its Fall 2012/Winter 2013 season to movie theaters worldwide. Productions in the National Theatre Live program are presented digitally, in HD, one Thursday evening a month, with an encore matinee the following Sunday, in the Grand Auditorium of the Del Mar Theatre.

The offering for this month, The Last of the Haussmans, debuts this Thursday (October 11), 7:30 pm, with an encore performance Sunday (October 14) at 11 am. The irrepressible Julie Walters (left) stars in this new dysfunctional family comedy by playwright Stephen Beresford. She plays an aging, ex-hippie matriarch retired to a seaside town in Devon, where she's visited by her two wayward grown children (Helen McCrory and Rory Kinnear), a granddaughter, and a couple of locals, for a summer of drinking, nostalgia, recrimination, inappropriate romances, and broken dreams.

This is the second season that these broadcasts have been available locally, but it's still the best-kept secret in Santa Cruz. In a theatrical town like ours, that supports so many stage companies, large and small, the NT Live program deserves to be better known.

NT Live productions have ranged from updated classics like A Comedy of Errors and She Stoops to Conquer,  to the blistering political satire of Collaborators, to challenging new plays like the recent adaptation of Mark Haddon's bestselling novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

In the recent production of Frankenstein, playwright Nick Dear's new take on Mary Shelley's classic novel, directed by Danny Boyle, lead actors Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes in the modernist PBS reboot) and Jonny Lee Miller alternated in the roles of Victor Frankenstein and his Creature.

The program's very first offering, the Commedia del'Arte-inspired romp, One Man, Two Guvnors, was praised by many smitten critics as the single funniest theatrical performance, ever.

So don't miss out. Here's what's in store for the rest of the season. Admission to the Del Mar is $15, with discount tickets of $13 for seniors, students, and Shakespeare Santa Cruz subscribers. Come see what you've been missing!

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