Friday in Quirk Theater, director Lee Stille’s “Hamlet” opened the EMU theater season.
Written by renowned playwright William Shakespeare, this show offers everything a tragedy is supposed to represent. With ghosts, blood, vengeance and character death, it covers all aspects of its genre. Audience members are introduced to the suspenseful mood with a gothic-style slide show and haunting music leading up and into the first act.
Though this is not a prop heavy show, characters filled out the stage area and offered a capturing presence that supported itself beautifully and carried throughout the entire show.
One of the most unique aspects of this show is the direction of “Hamlet.” In this instance the character of Hamlet is split into separate entities. Evan Mann represents the side caught up in his own grief while Matt Andersen embodies the need for revenge, creating the perfect yin & yang balance. While there were “two” Hamlets on stage, they intertwined in a spilt-personality unison, creating one whole character.
The choirs’ moments and interchanging dialogue did not trip up the flow of the scene, nor was it difficult to understand. The performers complemented Hamlet’s duel personalities and exposed the audience to the complexities in his head.
Laertes, played by Isaac Reimer, hears of the death of his father Polonius (played by Tom Foley) and goes on a pursuit to avenge his death. Reimer’s expressions are as sharp as his sword and you don’t want to be on either end.
The structure of the set is done in a way that permits the actors to move without interference from props. Floor props are sparse and easy to move, which allows for shorter amounts of dead space in-between scenes.
The floor acts as a level on its own, with its built-in stairs, downward slopes and drops. Lighting added an edgy atmosphere, playing off the set to create a moonlit glow rolling from fog down into the audience.
Hamlet appears it the most beautiful and uncommon of places. King Hamlet’s ghost, played by Adam Sheaffer, appears not only on stage but also on the windows on the back wall. This offers a nice effect to the audience, seeing him vs. the characters seeing him.
If one is looking for a little thrill and revenge in his or her life, then “Hamlet” is the tragedy to see. Tickets can be purchased at the Quirk and Student Center box offices.