Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

Stage on Screen - home
About Stage on Screen The Series Current Feature

intro backstage what is tantalus? credits resources

Fifteen years in the writing, seven months in rehearsal, and over ten hours in the playing, Sir Peter Hall's production of John Barton's epic play cycle "Tantalus" premiered at the Denver Center For the Performing Arts in November 2000. The production brought together an outstanding international cast, a Greek designer, a Japanese lighting designer, an American choreographer, and an Irish composer to create one of the most extraordinary and ambitious theatrical journeys undertaken in world theater.

The feature-length documentary TANTALUS: BEHIND THE MASK employs the text and action of Barton's stage play as a metaphor for all that goes on behind the scenes in mounting this historic world-premiere event. Interweaving brilliant performances with intimate backstage footage -- from the dedication, love, fear, faith, joy, trials, and triumph shared by the cast and crew, to the heart-breaking creative tensions between Peter Hall and John Barton, TANTALUS: BEHIND THE MASK

Go Backstage to learn more about the challenges of adapting the John Barton's epic play cycle to the stage with the "Tantalus Production Scrapbook." Check out What is Tantalus? to learn more about the myth, the play, and the documentary film. See our Resources section for more information about the theatrical influences and historical context of "Tantalus."

This presentation of STAGE ON SCREEN is made possible by Dorothy and Lewis Cullman, the National Endowment for the Arts, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, the Cornelius V. Starr Fund for Arts Programming at Thirteen/WNET New York, the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, and by Margot & Allan Frank and John Gilbert.