Englert shows "National Theatre Live" broadcast


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This weekend, the Englert Theatre will bring some international theatrical humor across the Atlantic to Iowa City audiences.

Miriam Gilbert, a University of Iowa professor of English, is one of the people in the community who advocated for several months to bring the cultural opportunity to town. Because she has a second home in England, she has seen live productions from the National Theatre, and she wants people here to have the same chance.

"Most of us can't get to these places that are far away and expensive," she said. "The production is done in high definition and thought out carefully."

During the past few years, the National Theatre in London has broadcast the program "National Theatre Live," which gives an international audience access to the most elite productions of British theater.

The "National Theatre Live" production of One Man, Two Guvnors will air at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Englert Theatre, 221 E. Washington St. Admission is $18 for the general public, $15 for students and seniors.

"I think this is a wonderful opportunity for Iowa City to be able to get these live transmissions," Gilbert said. "It opens up a range of productions we otherwise might not be able to see."

Iowa City community members especially enjoy theater, dance, and music performances. She compares the National Theatre production with the "Live from the Metropolitan Opera" series in high-definition.

The camera work is one of the most important qualities of the broadcast, she said. Audience members can see angles and close-ups that people attending the original production might not have seen.

The show, by Richard Bean, is based on the 18th-century The Servant of Two Masters, by Carlo Goldoni, and adapted to the 1960s, set in a seaside resort in Brighton, England.

"This show is extraordinarily funny," Gilbert said. "It's a wonderful farce with outrageous characters."

Englert Executive Director Andre Perry said he is glad to have another form of art from a prominent theater to showcase in Iowa City. He hopes that over the next year, interest in these productions will continue to grow.

"[The National Theatre] is a super-renowned company," he said. "It's a new artistic outlet to experience."

Englert board member Wallace Chappell believes that the show will be a crowd pleaser. In order to draw audiences, he said, the Englert tries to get well-known names in various performing arts.

"[All should] check out some of the very finest theater in the English language and challenge your standards of excellence, as well as your mind," he said.

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