Hamlet: An Exploration

directed by Jay Michaels

Hamlet and Glow in the Dark Yorick 

The play Hamlet is quite possibly the most widely known of William Shakespeare – more films, more adaptations, more versions and more references than any other Shakespearean work. But did you know Shakespeare’s play itself was a version of an older story? The killing of one’s brother for personal gain is one of the earliest Biblical stories. The use of vengeance for such a deed is also biblical. What might not be known is that the idea of feigning madness to seek out the killer is also an ancient theme. Works that served as fodder and foundation for Shakespeare’s most enigmatic story have roots as far back as pre-13th century Icelandic tales. The story of Amleth or Amlóði (Norse for "mad", "not sane") was written in the 12th century by Saxo Grammaticus in the Gesta Danorum. The Icelandic Saga of Hrolf Kraki and the Roman Lucius Junius Brutus, both center on heroes who play the fool in order to get revenge. Even in Shakespeare’s own timeframe there are two other pre-Hamlet works. A lost play entitled Ur-Hamlet remains in conjecture and synopsis as well as Thomas Kyd’s A Spanish Tragedy (in which the father feigns madness to revenge for his son) play the same tale as Shakespeare – some cases down to the Dumb Show story have changed. Unlike earlier versions, Shakespeare's Hamlet does not feature an omniscient narrator of events and Prince Hamlet does not appear to have a complete plan of action. The play's setting in Elsinore also differs from legendary versions. Matt de Rogatis and Jay Michaels have compiled elements of these other versions including the concept of a narrator sharing details as if the tale was far too old to be truly depicted without one – within their own version opening this summer at 13th Street Repertory in New York City. Hamlet: An Exploration does exactly that. It tells the story of Hamlet but it also manages to tell the story of Hroðulf from the late 5th century and the 6th century; Amlóði from the 12th century; Ur-Hamlet and Heronimo (from his contemporary, Thomas Kyd). It has become a tradition that the play is now done with modern dress more often than classical. This production takes that a step forward and backward. Costumes are a mixture of all eras creating an unplanned “steampunk” look. It creates a fascinating cacophony of theories - from the idea of the man and the warrior; to addiction and self-abuse; to love and lust and how bisexuality, BDSM and marriage of convenience have endured regardless of social mores and religious beliefs. When the smoke clears, this is a Hamlet not yet done using elements of the Hamlets, frankly, never or rarely done. Hamlet has appeared on stage and film (in all languages) in doublet in tights, in love with his mother, as a corporate raider, and a sad son, as a warrior, as a man who can’t make up his mind, as an afflicted child, as a man obsessed with death, and so much more. This production explores all of these … from the mind not of Hamlet but from the mind of the parable. Matt de Rogatis plays all Hamlets.

Performances: 

 7/13/2016 at 8:00pm
 7/14/2016 at 8:00pm
 7/15/2016 at 8:00pm
 7/16/2016 at 3:00pm
 7/16/2016 at 8:00pm
 7/17/2016 at 3:00pm
 7/20/2016 at 8:00pm
 7/21/2016 at 8:00pm
 7/22/2016 at 8:00pm
 7/23/2016 at 3:00pm
 7/23/2016 at 8:00pm
 7/24/2016 at 3:00pm

Theatre/Venue 13th Street Repertory Theatre Company 

50 West 13th Street  New York

Phone Number for Reservations 7326788422 
Website for reservations hamletnyc.brownpapertickets.com  
Running time 2hr. 30min. 

 

Producing Organization: NINE Theatricals  
Website mandelightsnotme.com  
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