Editor/Publisher, Bina Sharif

Friday, April 8, 2016



Directed by Ross Williams

Bina Sharif

New York Shakespeare exchange has taken upon them an ambitious endeavor
to present the Tragedy of Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, with 10 actors all playing Hamlet.
Actors also play other roles as well and its an adrenaline flowing epic spectacle all along.
The show becomes quiet complicated at times and I guess thats expected.

Tragedy of Hamlet is one of the most soul searching and psychological play of existentialism .
"To be or not to be, that is the question."  This quote from Hamlet has been analyzed, thought
about and talked about for Centuries and no one has yet found the answer. The anguish of Hamlet
lasts as long as he lives.  He desires to take an action of a certain kind and desires that action so immensely but still can't act upon it and has this gnawing pain and tragic existence because of it.
Its the burden of all the psychological as well as moral responsibilities which haunts this young handsome Prince.

When the play starts the king, Hamlet's father had already been murdered by Claudius, Hamlets uncle who has married Hamlet's mother within a month.  Hamlet is visited by his father's ghost which desires revenge for his murder. Since that moment on Hamlet's young life changes.  He wants to kill Claudius but is he capable?  Would he do it? Would he hurt his mother by doing it? Is revenge the right thing?  All these conflicting emotions and thoughts are so vivid and heart breaking in this play
that you just sit on the edge of your seats to accompany Hamlet's troubled mind which has love, hate, anger, morality, humanity, revenge, desire and many other conflicting emotions which paralyze him and make him un-able to take any kind of action.

This production has done justice to many of those complex emotions and characters.
Five women and five men play Hamlet. Some things have been shortened and some taken out and the script is often divided into little sections to be assigned to different actors playing Hamlet and some time they all speak different lines in unison. It creates a haunting if not perfect atmosphere for this
tremendous tragedy.  Some of the performers make better Hamlet than the others.
I really liked Harry Barandes who also plays Horatio,  the best.  He had a great voice and wonderful
diction and was impressive in his delivery.  I was hoping that he will come back towards the end
of the play as Hamlet one more time.  That doesn't mean that the other actors did not do a good job,
they were all good but some stood out more. It was also interesting to see Julie Delaurier,
an impressive stage presence who also played Polonius, to do Hamlet but she shines and is excellent as Polonius.  Its my most favorite role in the play and she did a great justice to it.  She made it charming, witty, funny as well as wise. Its great to see Julie back on stage.

My difficulty was only when the actor who played Claudius, Kevin Brewer as well as the actress who played Gertrude, Julia Watt stepped into the role of Hamlet.  They were pretty good but by that time
the concentration on Hamlet's lines became less intense.  The little trouble I had with this wonderful
Idea of many actors playing Hamlet was that whenever I began to really listen to the lines of the character all of a sudden another actor would jump into the role with obviously different voice, different evocation, (which I am sure was the whole Idea) and my mind had to quickly adjust to his /her interpretation till another actor shows up as Hamlet  and changes the whole scenario. Interesting  as well to see so many actors take on the same role

I also liked, Nathaniel p. Claridad who played Marcellus as well as the grave digger and Hamlet.
He had a very charming quality about him and wonderful energy.  Rebeca Miller who played  Ophelia  was quiet fragile and tender as Ophelia and ferocious as Hamlet when she/he jumps into
her/Ophelia's grave.

Overall this production was innovative, ambitious, experimental, stimulating and exciting.


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