Gregory Montelaro’s Event Journal

Hamlet new 920
Thursday September 12, 2013 / 8:00pm (Preview)
2 tickets
General Admission Special

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An absolutely wonderful production. It's fresh and it's delightful and every single moment of it held me utterly captivated. Matthew Keenan is an amazing Hamlet and was splendidly entertaining to watch. The opening scene introduces a set that places Hamlet on stage but in a position out of favor as Claudius addresses the court with his back to Hamlet. Clearly this is a deliberately arrogant slight to the crown prince as Claudius first addresses Laertes instead of Hamlet. This was an amazing use of set design to create a dramatic subtly and succeeded in making me consider something I never had before, namely how odd and deliberate it is that the king in this situation addresses Laertes before Hamlet. This is quite a stunningly thought-provoking detail. Etiquette demands that Hamlet, being the crown prince, be honored with the earlier mention at such an auspicious function. It makes it clear that Claudius is publicly slighting Hamlet, deliberately treating him with less dignity than his status demands. Well done. There is an unpretentious honesty about this production. The actors appear in modern dress and the director did a stand up job of ensuring that the audience is first person. Hamlet, after all, is a story in which Shakespeare fires eternal questions of purpose and humanity at the audience. Keenan's delivery of the the most recognized soliloquy in all literature, "To be or not to be...", was magnificent. The director is to be commended for bringing the audience into the question and, along with Hamlet, considering that state of being in which at some point, every man finds himself. Hats off to Christianne Mays (Gertrude). She convincingly delivers the airs of a queen and the emotions of a mother struck with a child she can not reach. On the whole, this Hamlet is a fine entry point for the uninitiated and a pleasant evening spent for the tried and true.