The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1830  Tuesday, 8 November 2005

From: 		Al Magary <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Monday, 07 Nov 2005 00:28:38 -0800
Subject: 	Hamlet in Wales: "I fod neu dim i fod"

City snubs Welsh Hamlet
by Marc Baker

Nov 6 2005, Wales on Sunday


TO BE or not to be was not the question on actors' lips as they 
performed Hamlet for the first time in Welsh.

Rather, it was why are there more of us on the stage than in the audience?

To quote Shakespeare, there was definitely something rotten in the state 
of Swansea when just 28 people turned up to see the Bard's masterpiece 
at the city's 1,021-seat Grand Theatre.

The 32-strong cast of red-faced thespians spent weeks rehearsing only to 
find themselves performing in an all but empty auditorium.

And most of those who watched the production were there only because 
they had been given complimentary tickets.

The cast spent weeks learning the line "I fod neu dim i fod", better 
known as, "To be or not to be", but their efforts fell on deaf ears when 
hardly any literature luvvies turned up to see their performance.

Wales Theatre Company producer Michael Bogdanov was specially 
commissioned to turn the story of the Prince of Denmark into Welsh by 
the Arts Council for Wales. His infatuation with England's glorious 
playwright began more than 50 years ago, when he saw Welsh legend 
Richard Burton tackle Othello.

But despite the flop, the Neath-born producer last night said he was 
looking on the bright side.

The co-founder of the English Shakespeare Company said: "The turn out 
was disappointing in many ways but in a way it was helpful because it 
was the first performance in Welsh and it gave us a chance to fine tune 
it in front of a small audience."

The actors perform Hamlet twice back-to-back, first in English and then 
in Welsh.

Adam Hopkins, 32, one of the members of the audience, said: "It was a 
bit empty to say the least, but I actually enjoyed the production. It's 
just a pity there weren't more people to clap at the end."

The producers are hoping for bigger audiences when the touring 
production is performed elsewhere in Wales, including Cardiff, Milford 
Haven, Brecon, and Llandudno.

And to make sure bums are on seats for the Cardiff shows, free tickets 
are being handed out for the November 2-12 performances at the New Theatre.

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