Friday, February 12, 2010

Hamlet's a hottie

Now, like a whore, I must unpack my heart with words and fall a-cursing, like a very drab, a scullion. My friend Brittany and I just saw Hamlet at the Coho Theater. This was an abridged version with just five actors, five amazingly gifted actors. I know it would be hard enough memorizing lines for one character alone, but these actors, excluding the heartthrob who played Hamlet, played several parts, sometimes switching genders like it was the most natural thing. The woman who played Ophelia, Brittany Burch, also played Laertes and would drop her voice several octaves and toughen her body language. I was never confused about who was talking, and I think that says something about the planning of this play. With just five actors, I think confusing the audience would be easy.

I've never laughed so much while watching Hamlet, but these actors really had fun using their poetic license. The only part I would have considered really funny before tonight was the exchange between Hamlet and Polonius about clouds looking like camels and weasels. Tonight, Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy was interrupted by Polonius. That soliloquy has grown so stale for me, after hearing it a thousand times, and it was nice to see it performed differently.

I saw in the program that Christopher David Murray (Hamlet) and Gary Norman (Horatio and Polonius) were in the original production of The Receptionist. They would have performed in The Receptionist I saw at Portland Center Stage, except they were too busy adapting this play. In Christopher David Murray's bio, one claim to fame was Bill O'Reilly calling him a heathen for appearing in an Everclear music video. Judging by his skill as an actor and the way he really melted into his role, I think he has more fame coming his way.

I am not good at initiating standing ovations, but these actors deserved one. Now I regret not standing up when they took their bows. Next time I see a play as impressive as this one, I will jump out of my seat and applaud, and not wait for other people to stand up first.

Afterward, Brittany and I had a conversation about grief and dying. In the past, I have judged others for not grieving enough, thinking that there's only one way to grieve . . . . my way! She opened my eyes to the fact that everyone has their own way of grieving. I guess I knew that already. But at least I'm not the only one who calls people "wretched" (as Hamlet did) for moving on so quickly.


  1. You’ve been going to a lot of plays lately. This Hamlet production sounds like fun. I may have to check it out. Hopefully it’s still running.

  2. It ends on the 20th. You should totally go. You will love it.