Hamlet revised and flawless

Mario Fratti
October 20, 2002

At Castillo, Shakespeare's masterwork in a version "deconstructed" by Heiner Müller.

THE CASTILLO THEATER of Fred Newman (500 Greenwich Street, 212-941-1234) continues to produce stimulating political works. The latest is a new version of "Hamlet" in "Hamletmachine" by Heiner Müller, who is considered in Europe to be the disciple of Bertolt Brecht. Ultimately, it's about the method of "deconstruction". You take a classic, analyze it and revolutionize it. That's what this author and able director do with this text. Director Newman added music and lyrics. Aided by the choreography of Madelyn Chapman and Earl Thomason, the director takes us to a dream world. Graceful dance movements prepare us for the nucleus of action. It's introduced visually by the fact that all the actresses in the scene caress the lowered tilting heads of the [male] actors. They seem like children being coddled by tender mothers. Thus is becomes clear that the characters of Hamlet and Ophelia are different, really different from their traditional image. Hamlet (Jeremy Black) appears effeminate and dresses as a woman. Ophelia (Gabrielle Kurlander) is finally a modern woman who rebels and predicts revolution, opposition and change. The scene where Ophelia is in a seat getting wrapped by white gauze is beautiful, really strong. She doesn't stop and continues to sing of her rebellion. Liberated at the end, she dances joyously with the entire company, demonstrating that you can win, you can change things and improve things. A beautiful and positive message. The other actors and characters are great too. (Translation by Carrie Sackett).

Shakespeareans: Dave DeChristopher, Marian Rich, Kenneth Hughes, L. Thecla Farrell, Anne Suddaby and Roger Grunwald.

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