Hamlet - preview
- Ashley Davies
- 20 September 2007
If I had a Kroner for every time someone reinvented Hamlet, I could afford a cruise to Denmark. If it’s not being set in Nazi Germany or a mental institution, the lead is being performed by – Gosh o’blood – a woman, the whole thing’s being done in the buff, or some brave thesp is taking it on as a solo performance.
So this Citz production with Tag Theatre Company is pretty unusual in that it’s being played quite straight. Well, apart from some minor adjustments such as doing away with Rosencrantz (the cast is only nine-strong) and a spot of trimming here and there (don’t expect to see the opening scene). As Andrew Clark, the young Scottish actor who’s taking the lead role, puts it: ‘You have to treat the script with reverence, but Shakespeare would have cut a bit if he’d had a dramaturge. It’s the story that counts.’
And that man in this case is director Guy Hollands, newly appointed joint artistic director of the Citz. He has a very clear vision of what he wants here, says Clark, and that’s a dark portrayal of a country very much in decline. They won’t be labouring the question of whether or not Hamlet is mad.
The key mission for Clark is to make Hamlet accessible, and, given that he didn’t know the play particularly well before rehearsals started, he could bring a genuinely fresh approach to it. ‘I had preconceptions about Shakespeare when I was younger, that it was for toffs,’ he says. ‘But I think this play will be received as Shakespeare wrote it — for the people.’ (Ashley Davies)
Citizens’ Theatre, Fri 21 Sep–Sat 13 Oct