The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1379 Thursday 5 August 1999.
Date: Wednesday, 4 Aug 1999 18:47:28 -0400
Subject: Staged Reading -- HAMLET
For those of you in the Washington, D.C. area, I wish to announce that
there will be a staged reading of a modernized version of Hamlet on
Saturday, August 14, at the Rosslyn Spectrum in Arlington, Virginia.
Curtain is 8:00 PM, and the running time of the show should not exceed
2-1/2 hours (for those who need to plan ahead).
Admission is free, but of course donations will be gratefully accepted.
This reading is based on a pair of experimental projects I directed in
the Midwest, while I was a student at the University of Illinois. The
projects were inspired by a conversation I had with a Russian actress,
who made me realize that in non-English speaking countries Shakespeare
is regarded as a contemporary playwright because their scripts are in a
modern, poetic idiom. It seemed time to explore how Shakespeare would
sound in modern English, but preserving as much of the original text
(it's still in a kind of English, after all) as possible. To make
Shakespeare our contemporary, and to begin the process of demystifying
the old man, I took it upon myself to bring him kicking and screaming
into the 1990's.
The results are possibly uneven, and I am well aware of Shaw's caveat
that 'if one does one thing in a production of Hamlet that is
ridiculous, one's Hamlet will be regarded as ridiculous' (I'm working
from rough memory here).
It will be the first time I have had a chance to share this work in the
D.C. area. A number of my professional colleagues have volunteered to
be in this reading-many of whom will be familiar to audiences who have
been to the Folger, Source, the Washington Shakespeare Company, and
elsewhere. It is a fun, collaborative effort, and I am grateful for
their help and encouragement.
See you on Saturday the 14th, if you have the time, and by all means
email me if you need directions to the Rosslyn Spectrum.