Fleabag: from stage to screen
Of course we’ve all watched that show by now. The one that started life at Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival, went on to a UK theatre tour, two BBC television series, an Off Broadway then West End run, that soaked up it’s overspill audience of thousands being beamed to cinemas around the country. Not to mention storming the Emmys and a multi million pound contract with Amazon to show for it.
The conversations and articles about Fleabag’s brilliance are on the wane. So why am I choosing to write about it now? Aside from it’s excellence, which I could talk about, in fact have talked about, at length, what I was struck by last week when I got my hands on one of the last remaining tickets for a National Theatre Live screening in Bristol, was how well the material has landed with it’s audience across so many forms. This made me think about the work we do with our clients, some of whom have to deliver a speech to a live audience, which is simultaneously being captured on film, and the nuance required to reach both audiences.
Of course here we have the extremely talented and highly skilled creative of the year Phoebe Waller-Bridge, but the direction of energy within the performance is what makes this electric. The subtlety yet specificity of her work is astounding – the way she holds her body, the raised eye brow, the gesture, her vocal range. And remarkably the cinema audience don’t feel they are missing anything from not seeing her live in action. Here we see the power of focussed and dedicated story telling and human connection, and how that can transcend all forms. She’s managing to build connection with both the live audience in front of her, by listening and responding to their reactions, and with her cinema audience, focussing her energy through the camera.
NT live is a total gift If like me you don’t live in the capital where the bulk of theatre is made, or you aren’t organised enough to get those seats booked. I always thought nothing came close to the feeling of seeing the performers up close and in the flesh but this really works.
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