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Streaming webcasts of theatrical performances are growing increasingly scarce as Broadway producers and drama companies begin opening their doors once more. Yet their value remains undiminished, for streaming video gives regional companies a national profile and makes shows available to viewers who either find it difficult to go to the theater or are nervous about Covid-19. What’s more, it doesn’t necessarily require a budget-busting cash outlay from producer: One of the things I learned from reviewing streaming theater during the lockdown was that you don’t need multiple cameras to capture a play for webcast. It turns out that some (though by no means all) of the single-camera videos routinely made by theater companies for their archives can also be watched with pleasure at home.
Connecticut’s Westport Country Playhouse, for example, has just made available on its website an archival video of a live performance of its 2008 production of John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men,” staged by Mark Lamos, the company’s artistic director. While there’s nothing fancy about the camerawork, the production itself comes through transparently and persuasively, enhanced by the audible presence of a fully involved audience. What’s more, Mr. Lamos and his 10-person cast, led by Brian Hutchison and Mark Mineart as George and Lennie, have given us a first-class version of Steinbeck’s 1937 novella, one in which the familiar tale of two itinerant ranch hands who share a tragic rendezvous with fate is told in an unadorned style that makes it fresh and new…..
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