Theatreland



"Fascinating" — The Australian

Go backstage at a legendary West End theatre for a sold-out production of Waiting for Godot starring Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart. Then watch as the theatre prepares for its next play, Breakfast at Tiffany's. Filmed over six months, this documentary series takes you behind the scenes at the Royal Haymarket to meet the stars, the director, the stagehands—and the carpenters who maintain one of London's oldest theatres. This is theatre as you've never seen it before. 8 episodes, 3 ¼ hrs, 2 DVDs, SDH, viewer's guide. From Athena.

18346 Theatreland

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Theatreland
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Disc 1

Episode 1: Bringing the House Down

At the Theatre Royal Haymarket, Waiting for Godot opens in just three days, and already it has the highest presales in West End history. Artistic director Sean Mathias is eager for his first play at the Haymarket to be a smashing success. Backstage, carpenters Tony and James pull down a damaged dressing-room ceiling.

 

Episode 2: OK—Now Entertain Us

The first preview performance went brilliantly, but the audience wasn't as responsive as the actors hoped they would be. Now it's the official first night, and the stakes are high. The cast will face the critics and glitterati, including Paul McCartney. New usherette Rozzie can barely contain her excitement.

 

Episode 3: Flushed with Success

After glowing reviews, the play is off and running, and the Haymarket settles into the daily routine of a long production. Behind the scenes, a father-and-daughter plumbing team works on the theatre's ancient toilets. Carpenters fix damaged walls and broken chairs. At curtain time, Rozzie panics when she learns she'll be serving tea to Dame Maggie Smith.

 

Episode 4: Is There a Spectre in the House?

The Haymarket is said to be haunted by the ghost of a former theatre manager, and staff spend a night in the darkened house hoping for a sighting. Meanwhile, Patrick Stewart is shaken by a ghostly surprise on stage. Sean Mathias splits his time between Godot and Breakfast at Tiffany's, and Tony and James check on a water tank hidden in the ceiling while the play goes on below.

 

 

Disc 2

Episode 5: Waiting in the Wings

The Haymarket is enjoying a record-breaking run with Godot. But after more than 100 performances, the actors' voices are severely strained. One night, Patrick Stewart's throat lozenges aren't enough, and a patient understudy finally gets his big chance. At the Haymarket's rehearsal studio, young stars Anna Friel and Joseph Cross arrive for their first read-through of Breakfast at Tiffany's. 

 

Episode 6: Goodbye, Godot

It's the final night of Waiting for Godot. Fans line up in the predawn hours, hoping for tickets. Following four months of full houses and a dark, demanding play, everyone is emotional. Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart speak openly about what the experience has meant to them. After a post-performance gathering for cake and champagne, the Haymarket closes for a month.

 

Episode 7: Blonde or Brunette

Compared to Godot, Breakfast at Tiffany's is another world, with an elaborate set, many costume changes, and a cast that includes a cat (with an understudy). To celebrate, Sean Mathias shaves his head, buys a new suit, and ponders whether Anna Friel (as Holly Golightly) should be blonde or brunette.

 

Episode 8: Blood, Sweat, and Magic

With less than two weeks until the world premiere of Breakfast at Tiffany's, the cast and crew work around the clock. Final adjustments are made to the set and lighting, and the stars move into their dressing rooms. The last remaining actor arrives—Jasper the cat—and learns his part perfectly. It's the final dress rehearsal, then the night of the first preview. Will it be another success?

 

12-page viewer's guide with a timeline of the Theatre Royal Haymarket, a look at the West End, profiles of the participants, an article on theatre ghosts, and fun facts about the productions.                      

Packaging: Boxed set

Run Time: 201 minutes

Format: Widescreen

Number of discs: 2

Language: English

Subtitles: No

Color or B&W: Color

CC: No

SDH: Yes

Region Code: 1

Aspect Ratio: 16:9

Rating: NR.

“Fascinating” —The Australian

 

“A rare behind-the-scenes look” —The Daily Telegraph (UK)