To see or not to see? That didn't seem to be a question that required much thought for those who attended Thursday's screening in theaters of a live performance from London of William Shakespeare's "Hamlet" starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role.
The production airing from London's Barbican Theatre attracted more than 225,000 viewers to theaters around the world Thursday for a telecast through National Theater Live. Locally, "Hamlet" was shown at three theaters, including the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, where it drew a sellout crowd, according to director of publicity Raj Tawney. He added that an encore showing scheduled for Thursday is nearly sold out as well. "It's a very long production, but everyone who saw it was taken aback by Benedict Cumberbatch's performance," Tawney said.
In all, the Shakespearean tragedy, which runs about four hours, was seen on more than 1,400 screens in 25 countries, and a greater number of people saw the play on Thursday than will ultimately see the Barbican production throughout its entire run, which concludes Oct. 31. "Hamlet" also drew the largest global audience for a broadcast in National Theatre Live history.
Due to strong demand, NT Live has scheduled additional screenings. On Long Island, in addition to Cinema Arts Centre's Thursday showing, "Hamlet" will be presented at John Drew Theater at Guild Hall in East Hampton on Oct. 24, Peconic Landing in Greenport on Nov. 15 and Plaza Cinema & Media Arts Center in Patchogue on Nov. 28 and Dec. 3.