If any of you have seen Spider Man 3, you’ll know how badly the Broadway stage is represented by Mary-Jane’s (Kirsten Dunst) appearance in a 4th rate musical. Indeed it is the kind of old fashioned entertainment that would make a 1950’s chorus girl blush. Mary-Jane also appeared in a lamentable version of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ in a previous episode of the film (I think it was that play, it was hard to tell).Why oh why do film directors represent the stage in such anachronistic and shouty ways? It’s hardly as if they’re worried that hoards of blockbuster fans will be running to their local theatres, eschewing the multiplex, just because theatre is portrayed positively.
But I do think that there actually is a real belief amongst many people (some Hollywood directors included) that theatre is really like that- old fashioned and static. This kind of portrayal does put people off going to see a show, and more importantly thinking theatre is ‘not for them’.
When I go to the cinema (and I am a big fan) I am always telling my companions which stage productions I have seen x or y actor in. Their interest if often nil (I have some great friends), they simply do not see the theatre as relevant. When I saw Catherine McCormack in ‘28 Weeks Later’ at the cinema on Friday my friend was not impressed at her stage cv (perhaps partly because the film is awful) or in ever seeing her work again. It’s a shame that you have to be a mega celebrity to make a major impact in the theatre, people should follow our own theatre regulars in their big (and small) screen careers, and indeed welcome them back to a stage where they are equally appreciated.