Thursday, March 09, 2006

Hamlet v. Laertes - 10 Rounds, and no Ear Biting

How about Hamlet and Laertes settling their differences in the boxing ring? "A Thousand Natural Shocks" apparently takes the four youngest characters -- Hamlet, Ophelia, Laertes and Horatio -- and puts them in a contemporary setting to work out their differences and deal with the world around them. It does sound interesting, and the team behind it (who use the acronym TEAM, for Theatre of the Emerging American Movement) seem to have some points to make beyond putting the characters in silly situations:

Sieh's Ophelia chooses, in her madness, not to focus on important political changes, but instead on consumer-ism, looking pretty and trying to make people feel happy. "It's very easy for an American to do that. We're taught by our president to pay no attention to 'the man behind the curtain'. It's the equivalent of Shakespeare's Ophelia turning everything into flowers," says Chavkin.

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Alan K.Farrar said...

Maybe 'wrestling' (not the real - the sort you get on TV) would be better - don't forget, Shakespeare's actors would have given 'demonstration' sword fights to earn extra money - all swash and buckle and lots and lots of pig's blood.
One reason there is a sword fight in the play Hamlet is because the audience loved a fight!

Duane said...

Believe it or not I'm a long time follower of professional wrestling. It makes a great conversation starter -- "I can converse equally well on Shakespeare, computers, and pro wrestling. Pick one." :)

A few years back there was the gimmick of a Harvard graduate as pro wrestler. He comes into the ring carrying a skull and proceeds to do his "Alas Poor Yorick." His opponent heckles him mercilessly, and then when his back is turned, he Harvard boy beats the heck out of him with a complete skeleton.

Alan K.Farrar said...

Please, I am hardly containing the tears - first good laugh I have had in a long time (reminds me of a 4 actor touring production of Hamlet I saw in the UK which had the grave digger come on to do a Michael Jackson dance - not Shakespeare but magnificent theatre).