Matt Bretschneider launches our season with a visceral, visual cold open. He gets us right into the heart of the issue for Daenerys Targaryen as well as the realm. Matt was our maester. He has a deep knowledge of The World of Ice & Fire. He also thinks through problems in myriad ways. He was an invaluable resource for our entire season.
Aleeza Klarman takes us into the anticipated reunions as well as the big Jon-learns-his-true-parentage moment. Her description and character work are sublime. Her dialogue and subtext touch on universal truths, which makes her writing resonate with readers and viewers. There are so many wonderful opportunities for characters to come together in this season. With only six episodes, we wanted to get into these important character moments as quickly as possible.
While much of episode 801 takes place in the North, one significant storyline takes place in King’s Landing. Cersei Lannister deals with uprisings. In our season, Molly Greville gives a subtle performance as Cersei. It’s easy to write or play Cersei as arch, but in episode 801, she is more threatening the cooler she gets. In our production, Molly does a terrific job conveying Cersei’s intelligence and menace.
Throughout the series, our cast members delivered a bittersweet range of emotions and humor so nicely – and they did so with no rehearsals. This was purely a staged reading.
One of the anchor roles is our narrator. Our narrator has lines on nearly every page, and there are hundreds of script pages! We were fortunate to land Brian Savage, who is an accomplished actor and a delight to work with. He has a great voice and delivery. We needed someone who could carry us through tense battle sequences as well as subdued romantic scenes. Brian has the gravitas to help create tension and suspense, and the gentleness necessary to establish intimacy.
Brian is new to the GoT universe, though, and he found some of the pronunciations challenging – particularly on live television. We’re thankful he was game to learn a new language on stage!
Speaking of daunting tasks: director Marissa Dianas tackled two days of live television in three-hour blocks with no do-overs. She coordinated four cameras and called the shots with 14 actors. Marissa didn’t just deliver – she crushed it. And we knew she would.
Marissa was the director for all of the Boston University men’s and women’s basketball broadcasts. She was the camera operator and production assistant for broadcasts of BU men’s and women’s soccer, ice hockey, and softball games. So, Marissa mapped our Game of Thrones staged reading like an action-packed sporting event. She captured important moments among our actors. She put viewers in the middle of the action. She and her stellar BUTV10 production team helped bring our season to life.
Episodes 1-3 were performed on Saturday, April 28, 2018. The performances were live-streamed on BUTV10. All episodes are available in HD up to 1080p, starting with episode 801 – “The Last Hearth.” And be sure to check out Chris Christian’s enhanced edits of our Game of Thrones: The Virtual Final Season episodes for his great SmokeScreen channel. He added vivid images to help orient viewers during the narration. His enhanced episodes are all available here in HD, too.