Friday, July 24, 2015

Dueling Hamlets

I am going to have to expand this blog post considerably, or perhaps just follow up with part 2 tonight, but I wanted to say that both the Stratford and Driftwood productions of Hamlet are quite good.  If I could only see one, I would probably lean towards Stratford, but if I wanted to take the family (particularly teenagers), then Driftwood is the better choice.  It has been trimmed down to 2 hours (more on that later) and does not feel like a long-drawn out production.  There were a few really interesting choices in Driftwood's version, particularly in the treatment of Ophelia.  Not all of it worked or worked entirely, but it is so rare to find anyone doing anything that different with Hamlet that it is worth seeing for that reason alone.  (I thought this was a fair review, and I agree with most points.)

Driftwood is putting on 3 more shows in Toronto's Withrow Park (and hopefully they will have the sound board problems ironed out -- that was a bit distracting to the point they probably should have just cut the mikes).  Then they move on.  For close to a month they have shows throughout Ontario.  More details here.

The Driftwood bus

Pre-show talk in Withrow Park

Stratford is Stratford.  (Actually, I had a pretty amazing idea for a web-series based on the town-gown conflicts at Stratford, but I can't imagine ever finding the time to write it.  Still I should commit some of it to paper (and to the blog).  Perhaps there is a collaborator out there who could help make it happen.)

I don't have any photos from the Stratford productions, but here is the Stratford Direct bus in the background. (Actually I have a whole blog post about the bus trip in, but that will have to wait for the weekend.)

And an actual chair owned by Shakespeare!  That's pretty cool.

More anon...

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