Nothing rotten with the Prince of Denmark
by Aniko Zala, Staff Writer
On Thursday, October 30, several of West Gs English classes went to see
the Great Lakes Theater Festivals production of Hamlet.
The Great Lakes Theater Festival is known for their main feature productions of Shakespeare. They always have at least one being planned or performed. Along with Tartuffe this year, The Great Lakes Theater Festival performed Hamlet in rotating repertoire. Tartuffe is a sarcastic, intellectual comedy, while Hamlet is an entirely depressing tragedy. It was an interesting (and successful) choice to play these two opposite each other.
From the first scene of Hamlet, stylized Chinese production techniques provided the perfect mood for the play. Billowing fabric held against the ground expressed the gloomy, foggy atmosphere of the opening. Women clad in drab colors, carrying fabric dividers, created the setup of the rooms onstage. Through the whole production, fabric was an
unusual but well-fit way to communicate the feeling of the play. The costuming distinguished the people onstage and represented who they were. It separated the ever-brooding Hamlet from his surroundings perfectly. The whole cast wore red, rich colors and had light hair but Hamlet, who wore the traditional black for his character. His hair was a shade almost darker than his clothing, making the contrast to those who surrounded him even more shocking.
Many in the audience were disappointed in the initially brittle presentation of Hamlet when he first came out. As the play went on, however, the flat acting gave way to a dynamic performance. As the intensity of the play increased with the plot, the performance of almost every actor grew increasingly powerful as well.
The Great Lakes Theater Festivals Hamlet was definitely an impressive performance. The production may have taken some time to pick up momentum, but by the closing scene, the whole audience was on edge.