Arts hamlet1

Published on August 1st, 2013 | by Greg


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.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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