Published on August 1st, 2013 | by Greg0
Hamlet Off-Broadway: Modern Updates On A Classic
Last week, we caught one of the last performances of the two-week limited engagement at Hudson Guild Theater (July 16-28). Though the play itself is one of the most well-known in existence, it’s always nice to see how different companies and takes on the work can bring it to life in a new way.
And we were quite impressed at the vision presented by Hamlet (Off-Broadway). Though the run is now over, we’ll definitely check out the creative talent behind the production in the future. Directed by John William Schiffbauer, this version updated the play to a modern-day setting, with a striking opening that immediately sets the stage thanks to the soldiers and their clearly-recent weapons, along with effective costumes and lighting (Jiin Choi, Ilana Breitman).
The space is fairly intimate, and used incredibly well, with actors appearing suddenly in the rear of the theater, coming through the aisles, and at times even sitting in the audience. It worked quite well, engaging and rousing the audience from passivity. Alas, not every choice made sense- though the play seemed uncut and uncondensed for the most part, an attempt was made to make it a bit shorter by having actors, particularly Hamlet, rush through their lines, rendering some of them nearly incomprehensible. It felt realistic at points, but harder to understand at most others.
Speaking of Hamlet (Kyle Knauf), he was definitely worthy of the attention in what is always a challenging role, inspiring and entertaining. Polonius, as well, was brought to life skillfully thanks to Kim Sullivan’s performance. And we’d be remiss not to mention Justin R.G. Holcomb’s Claudius, a natural fit. Though the show’s run is over, we definitely suggest watching out for the cast and crew behind the play.