Saturday afternoon in Rome, at the theatre, with students, colleagues and friends. Not my first Hamlet, of course, but I’m always happy to see a Shakespearean play on stage.

In this staging Hamlet (Alessandro Preziosi) is an intellectual on a crisis. The troubled indecisive Prince becomes really modern. Nowadays, the role of the intellectual has lost its strength, he is incapable of “feeling”   hence of “provoking” a reaction in his interlocutors.

The direction of Armando Pugliese underlines the cultural gap which separates Hamlet and his Wittenberg mates (Horatio, Rosencratz, Guildestern) – all dressed in white simple clothes - from a corrupt Danish court (Polonius, Claudius, Gertrude) wearing black/gold rich Renaissance costumes . Hamlet’s doubt is not only an oscillation of the soul but the necessity to make vengeance and justice coincide. His initial troubled reaction to the unusual situation of his mother's prompt re-marrying after his father’s death is lived in a dark claustrophobic bedchamber hinting at a mental asylum. The voice of his father’s ghost haunts Hamlet from the very beginning.

Lights and scenes(minimalist) and music (modern) and costumes were well chosen, they really worked at underlining the pathos of the situations. But ... though ... I am sorry to say it but ... the acting was plain, or too academic at times, monotonous, uninvolving, cold. No passion, little emotion. Alessandro Preziosi/Hamlet has a great stage presence, he was moved by the best intentions, anyhow I wished for something more: not only strength but energy, not only sensations but emotions.
I had already seen - and liked - Preziosi on stage as Edmund in King Lear as well as in  some TV or film productions. He became popular with  the Tv costume series "Elisa di Rivombrosa" but has never stopped working on stage.  I can't really say he was the worst in the cast, no, sincerely he was the best... I only was there wishing for "something more" all the time.



I saw Hamlet at the theatre last year too. Here are my impressions of that version:  A SHAKESPEAREAN SATURDAY AFTERNOON.

P.S. Italian most important national channel has recenlty broadcast a drama starring Alessandro Preziosi as St. Augustine that I couldn't watch but recorded for better times. I'm going to see it as soon as possible. I'm really curious of seeing his performance in that role too. St. Augustine is also a Hamletic character.You'll see.


Judy said...

Sorry you were a bit disappointed with this version, Maria, although it sounds as if it was still worth seeing. In the UK we had a version by the RCS shown at Christmas starring David Tennant as Hamlet and Patrick Stewart as Claudius - I would have loved to see this on stage but it was very good on TV. It looks as if it might all have been posted on youtube if you are interested in seeing another 'Hamlet' so soon.:)

Luciana said...

Oh, it's sad to feel disappointed. I saw an excellent version of Hamlet here in Brazil with excellent Brazilian actors. The guy that did Hamlet was a very famous actor here, Wagner Moura. He is the main character of the movie "Tropa de Elite", that in Italy was named "Gli squadroni della morte", and won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 2008. They also did a kind of our days version of Hamlet, but it was awsome! I couldn't stop paying attention on the stage! It is such a powerful story! Some days after I bought the book, but I still couldn't read it, I hope I'll be able soon!

Ms. Lucy said...

I love the way you do such interesting activities that also involve your students. They must love this. Sorry that you weren't totally smitten with this version though.
Take care!

Alexa Adams said...

I love how Shakespeare is so adaptable. About a decade ado, I saw an incredible staging of Hamlet at Actors Theater in Louisville, KY (a truly excellent theater) which was set in the 1940's, with fascist overtones, and portrayed Hamlet as a junkie. It worked surprisingly well. I'm sorry this adaptation disappointed you.

Elvira said...

At least the actor was really handsome!! ;-)

JaneGS said...

I actually liked the video clip. Interesting how the acting fell flat though the rest of the production worked. I love the idea of underlining the cultural gap with costuming--v cool. In general I'm a fan of minimalist Shakespearean productions.

> St. Augustine is also a Hamletic character.

Can't read to read about this. Everything I know about St. Augustine I learned from a recent listening to "How the Irish Saved Civilization," and the author contrasted him to St. Patrick.