"Shakespeare is rightly called the world's greatest playwright for the soaring beauty of his language, for his profound insight into human nature, for the truths he dramatized and for the realism of the characters he created. He was, and remains, a superb entertainer."
"Theatre In Video contains more than 250 definitive performances of the world's leading plays, together with more than 100 film documentaries, online in streaming video - more than 500 hours in all, representing hundreds of leading playwrights, actors and directors.
This release includes 226 videos, equaling approximately 234 hours."
Antigone is perhaps the most easily accessible of all the great classical tragedies, its theme clear and up-to-date: the conflict between moral and political law. Now the tale of Oedipus and his family comes to its end—he, his wife Jocasta, his sons, and now, at the last, his daughter, all dead. Antigone is not the only victim in the play; Creon too comes to a tragic downfall—although he repents in time, bureaucratic ritual results in the deaths of Creon's son and wife, burdening him with guilt as well as grief. With Juliet Stevenson, John Shrapnel, and John Gielgud. (111 minutes)
"In this incisive program, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson returns home to the Hill District of Pittsburgh in 1990 to review his life and career. Archival footage and interviews with Wilson, former New York Times theater critic Frank Rich, fellow writers, and others provide insights into the African-American experience, from the Great Black Migration to more recent times. Scenes from Jitney, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Fences, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, and Two Trains Running reveal the impact of the oral tradition and the blues on Wilson’s poetic prose, a skillful blend of art and authenticity. (52 minutes)"
"Shakespeare’s troubled character comes to life in this program in the capable hands of leading scholars, as they discuss the major themes of the play, its plot, and the actions of its main characters. Analyzing key scenes, scholars Russell Jackson and Stanley Wells of Stratford-upon-Avon offer insights into the underlying meaning of Hamlet’s eloquent soliloquies, as well as the play’s eight violent deaths, adultery, ghostly haunting, and ultimate tragic end. Death and revenge are explored as major themes of the work, as well as Shakespeare’s playful inclusion of comedic relief. An analysis of Hamlet’s relationships with his mother and Ophelia provides interesting insights into his multifaceted character. (31 minutes)"
Sophocles often won the leading prize at the Dionysia, the principal dramatic festival of Athens; but Oedipus the King was a runner-up, winner of the second prize. Posterity, however, considers the play second to none. The play tells the beginning of the Oedipus saga, setting the stage and creating the characters who will continue the story to its conclusion in Antigone. With Michael Pennington, John Gielgud, and Claire Bloom. (2 hours)
"A fifth of London’s population in the year 1600 were regular playgoers. Examination of the Globe Theatre shows where they stood, how the stage was constructed, and how the special effects so beloved by the audience were achieved, from thunder and lightning to fairies flying through the air and ghosts emerging from the earth. Rehearsals were minimal and there was no producer or director—just the play, the actors, and the audience of two to three thousand, which could be kept under control only by the interest of the play itself. The program points out that Shakespeare himself wrote the plays to be adaptable to different theaters when the company was on tour, and to different audiences. (28 minutes)"
This program looks at the theatres of Herodus Atticus, Epidauros, Corinth (where Arion is said to have taught the dithyramb), and many others to explain the design of the ancient theater, the synthesis of art forms that was ancient Greek drama, the origins of tragedy, the audience in classical times, the comparative roles of writer/director and actors, and the use of the surrounding landscape in many plays. (23 minutes)
DVDs at the Library
Be sure to check the library catalog or the A/V section for DVDs of various filmed plays.