Live in HD,

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos -

lo­cal host. The ini­tial of­fer­ing, on Thurs­day, Oct. 14, is A Dis­ap­pear­ing Num­ber, a pro­duc­tion by the ex­per­i­men­tal theater com­pany Com­plicite. Founded in 1983 as Théâtre de Com­plic­ité, the or­ga­ni­za­tion was heav­ily in­spired by the French ac­tor-ed­u­ca­tor Jac­ques Le­coq (whose in­flu­ence, by the way, spawned a lo­cal pres­ence in Santa Fe through Theater Grottesco). Com­plicite’s pro­duc­tions typ­i­cally har­ness var­i­ous artis­tic strands — in­clud­ing in­spired use of technology — into a bril­liant, in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary Ge­samtkunst­werk. The group un­veiled A Dis­ap­pear­ing Num­ber in 2007, and it was rec­og­nized with sev­eral awards, in­clud­ing the pres­ti­gious Lau­rence Olivier Award as Best New Play in 2008. The sub­ject is ar­cane: the con­cep­tion of ad­vanced math­e­mat­i­cal for­mu­las. On an­other plane, how­ever, it in­volves the his­tor­i­cal story of two men who, in the 1910s, were con­nected through their at­trac­tion to pure math­e­mat­ics: the im­pov­er­ished but in­tu­itively gifted In­dian math­e­ma­ti­cian Srini­vasa Ra­manu­jan and the Cam­bridge don G.H. Hardy, who struck up an un­likely friend­ship through those nu­mer­als and sym­bols.

The sea­son’s en­su­ing pro­duc­tions are not less in­trigu­ing. On Dec. 17, Rory Kin­n­ear, not yet a decade into his ca­reer, as­cends the Ever­est of Ham­let, in a pro­duc­tion by the Na­tional The­atre’s artis­tic di­rec­tor, Ni­cholas Hyt­ner. (Block out the con­sec­u­tive dates of Dec. 17 and 18 in your cal­en­dar im­me­di­ately: you can­not hope to ex­pe­ri­ence of­ten the one-two punch of Shake­speare’s Ham­let and Verdi’s Don Carlo, those im­mense and tax­ing master­works.) Fela!, a high-en­ergy amal­gam of Afro-beat mu­sic, vi­va­cious chore­og­ra­phy, and Nige­rian pol­i­tics fol­lows in Jan­uary; then King Lear (with Derek Ja­cobi rant­ing at the storm) in Fe­bru­ary, and af­ter that a new treat­ment of Franken­stein (in March) and Chekhov’s The Cherry Or­chard (with Zoë Wana­maker, in June). The NT Live pro­duc­tions have been con­sis­tently mag­nif­i­cent so far, and one of their sec­ondary de­lights has been the care ex­pended on in­tel­li­gent introductions, sup­ple­men­tary fea­tures, and other en­ter­tain­ments that make up a part of each broad­cast.

NT Live has an in­her­ent ad­van­tage over The Met: Live in HD. It may be ar­gued that some opera singers ought to be heard and not seen, or at least not seen in piti­less close-ups, when the mus­cu­lar ex­er­tions of their vo­cal mech­a­nisms take pri­or­ity over any other con­cerns about ap­pear­ance. For ac­tors, on the other hand, moment-to-moment ap­pear­ance is a cen­tral con­cern. They dom­i­nate the cam­eras in a way their op­er­atic cousins of­ten do not. What’s more, this se­ries ad­dresses what has been a re­gret­ted void in Santa Fe’s cul­tural scene. Since the city has failed to sus­tain a reper­tory-theater scene at a starry level, NT Live pro­vides some­thing es­sen­tial to our com­mu­nity. The Met: Live in HD took a cou­ple of years to con­sol­i­date its fol­low­ing, but by now the Len­sic is re­li­ably filled on Satur­day morn­ings when the opera comes to town. NT Live seems not quite yet to have reached its tip­ping point, but by the end of this sea­son it is likely to be em­braced as the “lat­est big thing” for peo­ple who live a rich cul­tural life.

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