The theatre, the theatre. Whatever happened to the theatre?
In the age of Netflix and online streaming, something is being lost. Just as televisions and movie theatres took the limelight away from traditional stage theatre, online streaming is now stealing the show from groups that offered once hard-to-obtain movies, say film aficionados such as Steve MacLean, one of the founding members of Pictou County’s Plaid Marquee.
The Plaid Marquee was started around 2002 with the goal of providing lovers of fine cinema a place to watch movies they might not get to see otherwise in Pictou County.
MacLean remembers his friend, the late Ray Pierce, coming to him one day where he was working at the library.
“We should do a movie group,” Pierce said at the time.
Pierce had heard about the TIFF program and various chapters and thought it’d be a good idea to form a local chapter for Pictou County.
A lover of movies and the arts himself, MacLean quickly agreed and from that initial discussion, the group took off.
In the early years, they had some big successes. Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine played to a sold-out audience in the large theatre section in the Empire Theatre at the time. When they showed The Hermit of Gully Lake, it sold out five times in Pictou County and twice in Truro.
But now many of those movies that were once impossible to see without programs like the Plaid Marquee are readily available to anyone with a computer or TV capable of connecting to the internet. Going by the number of ticket sales that Plaid Marquee has had in recent years, more and more those people are choosing to watch at home.
“Netflix,” says Pat Gorman, summing up the problem in one word.
Also a member of Plaid Marquee, she believes those who choose to watch at home are missing a huge part of the experience.
It’s the ability to watch a giant screen with everything else blocked out. But it’s something more too.
“It’s the experience of getting out of your home,” she said.
MacLean agrees. He said there’s a sense of community that you’ll find by watching the movies as a group that you won’t get to experience when you’re at home.
“We’re providing the community a chance for a night out and a chance to meet other people who appreciate fine movies,” he said.
He hopes that for their coming shows they’ll see more people choose to “get off the couch and go out into the community.”
The Plaid Marquee shows seven movies a year now. The next showing will be on Thursday for “Lady Bird.”
WANT TO GO?
What: Lady Bird
Who: Starring Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf.
When: Thursday, April 26, at 7 p.m. at Cineplex Theatres, New Glasgow. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., show starts at 7 p.m.
How much: Admission $10.
About the film time:
In Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig reveals herself to be a bold new cinematic voice with her directorial debut, excavating both the humour and pathos in the turbulent bond between a mother and her teenage daughter. Christine, Lady Bird, McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) fights against but is exactly like her wildly loving, deeply opinionated and strong-willed mom (Laurie Metcalf), a nurse working tirelessly to keep her family afloat after Lady Bird's father (Tracy Letts) loses his job. Set in Sacramento, California, in 2002, amidst a rapidly shifting American economic landscape, Lady Bird is an affecting look at the relationships that shape us, the beliefs that define us, and the unmatched beauty of a place called home. ~Rotten Tomatoes.