Il materiale di origine: @maryxbowman (Instagram) / “Sometimes you mimic Oscar Isaacs awkward stance, and sometimes you almost (accidentally) grab Keegan Michael Keys butt. Either way, Hamlet was utterly utterly incredible. And I have far more respect for these actors than I already had. Loved it. Theater awes me in ways nothing else does.”
I saw Hamlet yesterday. I came out of it with a lot of thoughts and a lot of *opinions* and I wasn’t sure if I should write about it. This was only the third preview - this is not the finished show. But I want to say at least this:
There were some things straight off the bat that I connected with and some things I didn’t. I immediately loved and was in awe of Richie Coster (Claudius) and Anatol Yusef’s (Leartes) performances. They are both Brits and they have a “style” that I am used to when seeing Shakespeare. They felt familiar and they made me happy.
There were some production design elements and staging choices that I didn’t connect with and still don’t. Hey, I like costumes, I like sets. Sue me. There are other issues but I won’t dwell on them, things will be much tighter when they’ve done more performances.
But the feeling I’m left with now some 12 hours later is that this is the “realest”, the most relatable Oscar performance I’ve seen yet. I can’t tell for sure if that’s *because* it’s a play and not on a screen but I don’t think it is. I’ve seen many productions of Hamlet and I’ve seen many plays. I admit that throughout the play I wanted him to up the theatrics, to “thesp it up” a bit more. Note, this is what I’m used to and like when I see Shakespeare. I was judging this against my expectations.
But now I’m not so sure. Oscar has such a command and understanding of the language that his Hamlet feels completely natural. What makes it interesting to me is that his Hamlet feels very contemporary. I literally feel like I’ve been sitting in a coffee shop overhearing some other table’s conversations. With “Hamlet”, the problem in my experience often becomes that he is so caught up in his own misery that watching it becomes a drag. Not so here. There is heartbreak there but it is restrained. I’ve seen more revengeful Hamlets; to me this one seemed more caught up in a situation and trying to survive it whilst trying to do right by his father. More mourning, more frustration, less hate? The emotions seemed more “real” (i.e. relatable) to me.
It is a long production but there wasn’t a dull moment in there. Keegan Michael Key has a fantastic scene. Also there is intermittent singing and some jigging which is great because there was no curtain jig. CURTAIN JIGS ARE LIFE.
Oskar Eustis, artist director of the Public Theater, announcing Hamilton’s move to Broadway (2015):
…the building that was founded upon the premise that by putting Shakespeare next to the work of contemporary dramatists, that you could hold up a model for drama to aspire to. And I have to say, Lin-Manuel Miranda is Shakespearean in his ambition and in his achievement. What he has done is what Shakespeare did - take the language of ordinary people, raise it to verse and by doing so, ennoble both the speakers and the language itself. He’s done what Shakespeare did his history plays, which is to retell the story of the founding - the foundational myth of our country in a way that realises the promise of those myths, that makes sure the country belongs to everybody. And Hamilton doesn’t just say that; Hamilton embodies that.
Lin-Manuel Miranda on the same occasion:
I’ve wanted to work at the Public [Theater] as long as I have known I wanted to be a writer. So this run at the Public is a dream come true.
(Watch til the end for Lin getting emotional and quoting Alexander Hamilton.)