INOLA @ 13TH STREET: HAMLET

The performance that I saw is “Hamlet” written by Williams Shakespeare and the adaptation by Matt de Rogatis and Jay Michaels; stage managed by Mario Claudio, starring Matt de Rogatis, Linda Nelson, Jim Kempner, Greg Pragel, Ali Stover, David Arthur Backrach, Lorraine Mattox, Brian Patrick Murphy, Milton Elliot, and Vanessa Altshuler.

The audience sees Hamlet on stage as he speaks in its presence after the death of his father.  He mentions the marriage of his mother to his uncle.  The narrator informs the audience from the aisle about Hamlet’s impending reaction to his father’s ghost.  The Ghost has some unfinished business, and he wants Hamlet to execute this task.  Hamlet questions his mother, Gertrude; and she becomes uneasy in his line of questioning before he leaves the stage.

Ophelia and her brother enter the stage and he tries to influence his sister about her love for Hamlet.  She ignores his rhetoric, but the bombardment continues with her father!  She acknowledges her resolve with the men in her life.  Hamlet and Horatio look out on stage for the Ghost, and Hamlet calls out to his father’s ghost.  His friend, Horatio tries to hold on to him from falling, and the audience takes in every second of the scene with anticipation.

The narrator gives the audience another heads up on the impending drama that awaits Hamlet and the deception of his uncle Claudius.  Gertrude hears all about her son’s madness, and she gets the entire run down on the content of Hamlet’s letter to Ophelia.  Later, Hamlet gets a tongue-licking from one of his adversaries.  Soon after, two deceitful women enter and they greet him Hamlet, and the audience anticipates their deception.

The narrator provides the audience with his pointed summary of the impending scene.  Hamlet contemplates about the play for his scheming uncle to see, and the two women make their presence known to all.  Hamlet talks to himself one more time, for he wants to kill himself.  He uses his restraint and leaves the stage, and he returns quickly where he sees Ophelia.  She gives him a gift and he throws it on the floor.  Hamlet checks her loyalty, and he suggests to her to join the nunnery.  In the meantime, her father and his uncle eavesdrop on them.  Ophelia cries on stage and talks to herself, and her father takes her away.  Then Hamlet talks about the play to Horatio and he takes notes.

The audience listens with anticipation for the narrator’s disclosure of the impending scenes, and it sees Claudius when he takes off his crown and leaves the stage.  The pressure is on for Claudius, and all of his cohorts follow him!  Hamlet sits on the throne that is rightfully his.  The two conniving women return and they try to antagonize him while he sits on the throne with the crown on his head.  Hamlet leaves the stage, and his scheming uncle enters and one of his minion follows him.  To the audience’s delight, the King reveals his atrocity, and he attempts to seek redemption as he kneels and pray.  With revenge on his mind, Hamlet creeps down the aisle with a weapon in his hand; and he approaches the stage and he stops.

Hamlet talks with his mother Gertrude on stage!  He tells her all about her sins, one of which is her marriage to her deceased husband’s brother; and Ophelia’s father, Polonius, eavesdrops and hides behind the curtain.  Hamlet pushes his sword behind the curtain, and Polonius falls down dead.  Queen Gertrude cries out and she blames Hamlet.  She tries to comfort Hamlet, and the Ghost of Hamlet’s father appears, and Hamlet tells his mother, Gertrude of his father’s presence.  After, Gertrude and Claudius console each other; and they connive on how to get the rid of Hamlet.  The king, Claudius, sends his two-female conspirators on a mission to find Hamlet.

The king, Claudius and his bodyguard enter the stage and he keeps Hamlet away from the king as the two women look on and enjoy the drama.  The king is not comfortable with Hamlet in the palace as a killer.  In haste, he gives the two women a piece of paper and orders to execute his plans.  In their absence on stage, Hamlet sits on the throne and he talks to himself.  Gertrude knows that her son is a killer.  She is not taking any chances with him.  She enters the stage with her bodyguard.

The narrator informs the audience with his blow-by-blow techniques in storytelling, and it awaits to see the antics of the schemers on stage.  The queen calls for Ophelia.  The king enters and he makes an announcement that Ophelia is crazy.  Ophelia makes noise as she enter the stage from the aisle.  The king and queen become upset for they realize that Ophelia misses her father, Polonius who Hamlet murdered.  Now, Laertes, Polonius’ son comes back to avenge his father’s death.  Ophelia walks up the aisle, and her brother looks at her.  She gives her flowers to different people, and she kisses her brother.

Hamlet’s friend, Horatio enters the stage, and he reads Hamlet’s letter.  Claudius and Laertes, Polonius’ son plot to eliminate Hamlet.  Gertrude enters and she sees the conspirators.  She tells Laertes that his sister, Ophelia is dead through drowning!  The newsflash forces all of them to leave the stage.

Hamlet and Horatio enter the stage.  He finds a skull!  He holds it up and cries before he and Horatio leave the stage.  Laertes and the bodyguard carry the body of Ophelia as Claudius, the king, and Gertrude, the queen, follow the pallbearers.  Laertes and Hamlet banter each other on stage, and Hamlet professes his love for Ophelia before he and his mother, Gertrude leave the stage.  The others leave and the two women return to the stage with trickery on their mind.  Hamlet and Horatio converse on stage.

The narrator gives the audience another heads up about the up-coming scenes.  The plot for Hamlet’s demise is set into motion by King Claudius and Laertes.  There is a duel between Hamlet and Laertes.  The king gives the queen a poisonous drink and she drinks some of it.  Laertes stabs Hamlet.  Laertes talks about the King Claudius’ treachery to destroy Hamlet.  Hamlet stabs him!  Queen Gertrude dies next to Hamlet.  Horatio takes Hamlet to sit on the throne, which is rightfully his, despite his wound.  Horatio speaks to the audience in a very eloquent manner as the audience looks on in awe.  The narrator gives the audience his final words before the show ends.

The adaptation of Hamlet by the writers gets its message across to the audience.  It sees the craftiness of one brother, King Claudius, who usurp his brother’s throne as one of his bad deeds.  In addition, he marries his brother’s wife, Gertrude, and he plots to have his nephew, Hamlet killed.  Throughout the play, the audience takes in all of the manipulation and discourse among the characters.  King Claudius

The reviewer’s point of view:  Hamlet is a must-see performance for theatre goers and those who may want to reflect on their own lives and the people around them.  Deception and murders were alive and well in Shakespeare’s time, and these practices are still going on in the new millennium.

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