• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Matt Page


    Friday, November 07, 2008

    Ben Hur on the London Stage

    Various news outlets (BBC, The Times, The Independent, The Guardian, and The Telegraph) are reporting that Ben Hur is to be brought back to the stage. As Peter Chattaway points out"Long before it became three precedent-setting movies...Ben-Hur was dramatized for the stage". It was in fact a Broadway smash, featuring live horses running on a treadmill for the chariot scenes.

    The new production will take place next year in the O2 stadium in London (formerly known as the Millennium Dome), and will feature over 400 performers and 100 animals, and, according to The Telegraph, it will be pretty spectacular.
    Combining light, sound, water, wind and pyrotechnic effects, the show will be performed in the round as if in a Roman amphitheatre.

    The centrepiece will be the chariot race in which five teams of four horses will race round the track at up to 35mph.
    I'm hoping to go an see it, but we'll have to see what's happening nearer the time. I wonder whether it will open before or after the forthcoming Ben Hur TV series.

    By the way, the above photo is taken from the original Broadway stage production, which is discussed at some length in the extras for the four-disc DVD release of the film.



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