Monday, March 13, 2006

Hamlet in Review

Naomi and I attended Hamlet at the Guthrie Theater on Saturday evening with two friends. I found a Star Tribune review of the play over the weekend.

Rohan Preston, who wrote the review was very positive of the play--and rightly. The play was well done. I only had two problems with the play--neither of which detracts significantly from the production.

Santino Fontana, who plays Hamlet, does not evoke the sympathy of the audience in the manner he should have. His performance was very good--yet there was something lacking from it that kept me from embracing his character.

The gravediggers, or "clowns" as Shakespeare calls them, were done poorly. They were made into greater fools than Shakespeare would have intended. Yes, one of the gravediggers does get the best of Hamlet, at least in words--but Hamlet came out better than he ought have.

Shakespeare liked to use peasants in his plays to make fun of serious noble characters--and Hamlet is no exception. Yet Dowling decided to make his gravediggers more post-modern comedians than poor peasants making fun of the rich noble university student.

Peter Michael Goetz's Polonius steals the show--until his demise. Goetz played Wiley Loman in Death of a Salesman--so he is accustomed to playing a lead--and it is evident from his performance in Hamlet. I strongly encourage all interested in theater to visit the Guthrie theater's final production at Vineland Place.

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