by William Shakespeare
Scenic & Lighting Design | Jiyoun Chang
Costume Design | Meg Zeder
Fight Choreography | Robert Westley
Voice & Movement Coach | Sheila Bandyopadhyay
Sound | Mark Bruckner
A fellow director once said to me that the only way to know Hamlet is to act one’s way through it. In the spring of 2013, several members of the cast and I began working on the play in a course dedicated to exploring it on its feet as means of interrogating and activating the text. One of the great challenges with such a play is dealing with all of the baggage that comes with it. It seems everyone has some idea or opinion about it. But, what happens when you really confront the text? What happens when you get inside of it? Our process focused on navigating the experience of thought in a complicated play where soliloquies, speeches and scenes take us directly into the heart of problems and questions.
“Who’s there?” The first two words of the play form one of its central questions. Hamlet is very much a play about questions and problems. What is the right action to take? When is it ok to act? Questions concerning the nature of humanity loom large with outcomes concerning life and soul. Finally, Shakespeare complicates and energizes these problems in the “where” of the play by setting them inside a poisoned court. There are no easy answers, but in the words of Hamlet in his advice to the players, it is our hope that the work might “hold, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure.”