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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: March ::
Know Theatre Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0196  Thursday, 15 March 2007

From: 		William Godshalk <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 13 Mar 2007 17:04:18 -0400
Subject: 	Know Theatre Hamlet

The Know Theatre, in downtown Cincinnati, is an intimate loft that seats 
perhaps a hundred spectators. The stage is multi-level and relatively bare.

The Know Theatre's production of Hamlet creatively echoes the 
innovations of the Ethan Hawke Hamlet. The stage is surrounded with as 
many video monitors "as may be." At the rear of the stage is a large 
screen on which the ghost of Hamlet's father (Nick Rose) appears -- a 
fine piece of video work, and Rose plays a very ambiguous ghost -- 
apparently hiding a smile as he convinces young Hamlet to seek revenge. 
Later, as the stylish and rather cool Gertrude (Liz Vosmiere) gives her 
fantastic account of Ophelia's death, Ophelia's image with hands bound 
thrashing in the water is projected on the rear screen. Now and again 
throughout the action the image of Gertrude and Claudius chastely 
embracing appears on some of the small monitors. Interestingly not all 
the monitors always show the same image. I'm assuming that this is Jason 
Bruffy's director's choice, not an electrical mishap.

The play begins with a flash forward to Hamlet's death. The lighting is 
muted, and the actors speak without affect. The emphasis is on Hamlet's 
instructing Horatio (Robert Williams) to tell his story, and, of course, 
the rest of the play is Horatio's story.

Chris Guthrie is an excellent Hamlet, who takes his own advice about 
suiting the action to the word, the word to the action (3.2.17-18). 
Guthrie's Hamlet is understated, but he plays a mean recorder 
(3.2.345ff.) as Guildenstern (Anthony Darnel) tries to "play upon" Hamlet.

As Ophelia (Liz Holt) tries to engage Hamlet in conversation 
(3.1.89ff.), Claudius (Jeff Groh in military uniform) and Polonius (Jim 
Stump in tux), placed on opposite sides of the stage, carefully watch 
the couple on closed-circuit T.V. Both Groh and Stump are excellent.

In the final scene Hamlet and Laertes (Derek Snow) duel with knifes, 
choreographed by K. Jenny Jones. Snow is an imposing Laertes.

The only thing wrong with this production is that it closes on March 17. 
For tickets and information, call 513.300.KNOW.

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