Mar 04, Alan Scott rated it it was amazing Hamletmachin is a postmodern, absurdist play, the text of which is only 6 pages long but the original German staging was 7 hours! At one point Ophelia 3 turned into a man and Hamlet 3 turned into a woman. Hamlet 1 spent a lot of time rolling around Hamletmachin is a postmodern, absurdist play, the text of which is only 6 pages long but the original German staging was 7 hours! Hamlet 1 spent a lot of time rolling around on the ground in torment about the death of his father and the "wasteland of Europe," the Hamlet 2 was a revolutionary who excitedly described an uprising of the masses, and the Hamlet 3 lusted after Ophelia as well as the power of the State this Hamlet also deliberatly drowned the Ophelia 2. Oh, and did I mention the Chicago version was done as an opera with weird, ambient, post-industrial music playing the entire time.
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And it was different in both its anti-naturalistic concept and its artistic quality. The stage: concrete-like panels, interlinked with metal struts dominated the scenery. In the center stood a statue of industrial pipes from which the actors repeatedly pulled props.
As the play began, two claves were struck by the director - who was located in the audience area - thus signaling what would be a systematic part of the performance: the director was integrated in the play. Even from the start, it was understood that the fourth wall between stage and spectators would be destroyed. Later, one actor walked along the front row, touching the faces of the spectators.
Then, dramaturge Katrin Dettmer, left her own place in the audience in order to mount the stage as a dead philosopher throwing books at Hamlet. Finally, the actors introduced themselves to several spectators with their real names.
The piece is known for its dissolution of the concept of identity. This was realized in the Brown production by having three actors play the respective Hamlet and Ophelia parts, as well as having each actor appear later as a different modern-day person. Consequently, there were no consistent characters. Sam Yambrovich, the Hamlet who wore a suit and later a tailcoat, re-appeared as a background narrator while in his underwear. Evan W.
Smith, who wore a more historical costume portrayed a traditional naturalistic Hamlet, in the end speaking as Charles Manson. Alongside these Hamlets were the Ophelias, all temporarily acting as specters tensely crossing the scene. But does this apply to the fallen pop diva? Finally, Charly E.
Without exception the performance of all actors in this extraordinary physical and mentally challenging staging was highly convincing. In contrast to older performances of Hamletmachine, the actors in the Brown production did not recite the text mechanically. However, several lines and paragraphs were spoken repetitiously — sometimes by one actor, sometimes alternating with another actor. Occasionally the voices swelled up to a chorus-like mosaic.
In general the text was presented in various ways. It was rendered in newscast-style, babbled unemotionally, or sung. There were also moments of outrage, discomposure, and agitation, which eventually were undermined by the aforementioned dissolution of identity. The whole staging seemed to be a mechanical process, irregularly structured by a bell and a flash, which stopped when the Ophelias placed their fingers under their eyes.
The Hamletmachine stutters and some scenes reboot several times. Therefore the performance only roughly followed the original text order. Moreover, it was characterized by disillusion and irony. Then an actor addressed the director and audience, saying that it was his voice they were about to hear on tape.
On the one hand, the machine-like, playful postmodern character lead into a destruction of the provocative qualities of the piece.
He took this sentence seriously. After all, there was an oscillation between intensity and meaning in this performance.
Both females and males, besides their own parts, performed lines and paragraphs of the different sexes. Hence the sexes were adjusted which relativized a strong feminist position. Although relativized, it nevertheless did not destroy the power of the female roles.
After a last flash and a moment of darkness, there was the motionless group of women, butcher knives in hand pointing at the audience. Before that, with a raised knife, they were presenting their wrists — still in the Ophelia paradigm.
Consequently, there was a switch from self-destruction to revolutionary aggression addressing the audience. Finally, confronted with the picture and text of the pitiless end, once again the spectator was forced to come to an understanding of this sophisticated minute staging, in which theatre and society machines are reciprocally part of each other.
Overview[ edit ] The play is constituted of scenes. The whole text is roughly nine pages long. The script itself is extremely dense and open to interpretation; recurring themes include feminism and the ecology movement. The production of Hamletmachine was described as "a stage teeming with images" and "an electrifying message from East Germany" by Nicholas De Jongh in the Guardian. In , the play was presented by the University of California, Irvine, directed by Keith Fowler , as a bloody fantasy set in a "Frankenstein laboratory," in which industrial meat hooks served to "float" Ophelia. The project resulted in a new translation of Hamletmachine into Japanese and 15 experimental performances ranging from 45 minutes to 12 hours. It was documented in the book HamletMaschine.
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