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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: May ::
Re: Peter Brook's Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1055  Tuesday, 8 May 2001

[1]     From:   Richard Burt <
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        Date:   Monday, 7 May 2001 12:34:31 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1048 Peter Brook's Hamlet

[2]     From:   Karen Peterson-Kranz <
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        Date:   Monday, 7 May 2001 17:09:58 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1048 Peter Brook's Hamlet

[3]     From:   Amy Ulen <
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        Date:   Monday, 7 May 2001 23:19:29 -0700
        Subj:   RE: SHK 12.1048 Peter Brook's Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Burt <
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Date:           Monday, 7 May 2001 12:34:31 -0400
Subject: 12.1048 Peter Brook's Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1048 Peter Brook's Hamlet

I agree with Karen Peterson that Adrian Lester's performance was the
highlight of Brooks' Hamlet, which I saw at BAM a week and a half ago.
Lester played Hamlet as a stand up comic, getting lots of laughs through
props and stage business I'd never seen anyone playing the role on stage
or on film get before.

The audience loved Lester.  The cast came out together for the first two
curtain calls, and after the second, a few other people and I were
sanding (I did so mostly to stretch my legs), and then Lester came out
alone for the third (the rest of the cast followed seconds later).  At
his solo appearance, the rest of the seated audience bolted out of their
seats and cheered loudly. Never seen anything like it.

In the performance I saw, Laertes' part was more extensive. He appeared
to listen to Claudius plot Hamlet's death and for Ophelia's mad scene.
He was also present for the duel. I wonder how Hamlet and everyone else
died in the production Karen saw.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen Peterson-Kranz <
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Date:           Monday, 7 May 2001 17:09:58 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 12.1048 Peter Brook's Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1048 Peter Brook's Hamlet

A small clarification. I wrote:

>The character of Laertes is all but cut.  He appears
>only at Ophelia's
>burial.  Someone who didn't know the play would be
>confused.

And readers of that would be confused.  What I meant to say was "He
*first* appears at..."  He's there as usual at the duel, just in time to
get killed

Sorry for the misleading wording.

Cheers,
Karen Peterson

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Amy Ulen <
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Date:           Monday, 7 May 2001 23:19:29 -0700
Subject: 12.1048 Peter Brook's Hamlet
Comment:        RE: SHK 12.1048 Peter Brook's Hamlet

I saw the production in Seattle on April 15 and was incredibly
disappointed.  Although I enjoyed Lester throughout, his energy dropped
drastically near the middle of the performance.  In fact, as the seating
became more uncomfortable sans intermission, I would have expected Brook
to pick up the energy and pacing of the show.  Unfortunately, it slowed
to a snails pace, and I was bored out of my wits.  In fact, I had to
entertain myself by watching the other audience members; one young man
was reading a book--not a good sign!

Shivalingappa's Ophelia was horrible!  She was very pretty to look at
but every time she opened her mouth I wanted to stand up and scream,
"Please show some emotion!"  I imagine that most of her lines were cut
because the girl simply can't act, which I find very surprising since
this is an international touring company.  I would think that Brook
would have had hundreds of qualified, talented actresses from which to
choose.

Since I am very familiar with *Hamlet*, I was not bothered by most of
the rearranged and reassigned text, but I know the show would be very
confusing for people who have never studied the play.

If the tickets weren't so expensive, I would probably recommend the
production simply to see Adrian Lester perform.  Yet, I saw an
absolutely brilliant production of *Hamlet* at the Seattle Shakespeare
Company earlier in the season for only a fraction of the cost of Brook's
production.  The SSC version was by far the best *Hamlet* I have ever
seen--either live or on film!  Although I absolutely loved that
production, I was also disappointed by the performance of the girl
playing Ophelia.

"O woe is me t'have seen what I have seen, see what I see."

Amy Ulen

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