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HAMLET Andrews Theatre/Irish Classical Theatre Company
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Apr 28, 2019, 12:49
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Through May 19
HAMLET Andrews Theatre/Irish Classical Theatre Company

Crown Prince Hamlet grew up in a royal palace, traditionally filled with backstabbing, maneuvering and endless quest for power and for the throne.
He was far from the castle in Elsinore, a university student in Wittenberg, when his father, King Hamlet, died
He (Anthony Alcocer) came home from university to find his mother, Queen Gertrude (Kristen Tripp Kelley), had swiftly moved from wife of King Hamlet to wife of the king’s brother, new King Claudius (Matt Witten).
They had an early start.
The Irish Classical production of Hamlet is a nearly three-hour show, omitting little of the basic plot and leaving a smaller pile of bodies.
With the Andrews Theatre a somewhat cramped stage for this tangled story of adultery, murder and vengeance, set designer Jessica Wegrzyn ties everything together with what looks like the wooden skeleton of a home.
Director Kate LoConti Alcocer continues that image with outside events staying outside the wooden framework.
Okay, you know the story: son comes home to find his widowed mother remarried to the new king, ghost of his father identifies it as adultery and murder, prince kills blowhard chamberlain, girlfriend goes crazy, king tries to kill the heir, girlfriend commits suicide, vengeance plot protecting king and queen and falls apart, leaving pile of bodies.
This production is structured in costume, with costume designer Wegrzyn putting Hamlet and almost all of the other bearded millennials in black, while the king and queen and a few others are in Brooks Brothers.
By having the cast members do much of the scene changing, there are very few real and show-slowing scene changes, with occasional blackouts.
That means the pace of the show doesn’t slow and the story twists to its bloody end.
LoConti Alcocer is working with a strong and experienced cast, especially Alcocer and Witten.
There are a series of other roles, with most of the cast carrying double roles, like Rolando Martin Gomez as the Ghost, the Player King and two other parts.
A college or university theatre program can have platoons of performers, while a professional theatre company can’t, thus the multiple roles.
Alcocer holds it together, in a very athletic performance.
“Hamlet” is one of those essential plays, a look at sex and vengeance among the best people, with a throne at stake, an early “Game of Thrones.”
Shakespeare not only created characters which have resonance four centuries later, the madness or Ophelia or the seemingly mad prince, but his words survive in people who have never seen a play, “to be or not to be.”
You should see “Hamlet,” not just because it’s a very strong performance with strong acting but because it’s an essential piece of our cultural tradition.

A.W.

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