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I hate to admit this, but this performance of Hamlet was my first exposure to the play being acted out (other than about 50 different versions of the “To be, or not to be?” speech.) I loved it! I mean, how could you not? The actors were invested and convincing in their roles, the scenes were beautiful, and the music did a great job of guiding my emotions throughout the show. Here are a few things that caught my attention in particular.
Laertes. He was clearly a spectacular actor, but I thought that the choice to cast a black man was really interesting and added to the story. I’m not being racist or anything, but stating the obvious. The rest of the cast is white, so Laertes definitely stands out. I think one of the main reasons that the casting director might have done this is that one of his jobs in the story is to serve as a dramatic foil to Hamlet. The way that he and Hamlet react to the same events, the deaths of their fathers, is totally opposite. Laertes is furious and hungry for revenge. He barges in, intent on killing Hamlet, and tries to see it through until it costs him his life. Hamlet, on the other hand, knows how his father died and who killed him, but makes no major moves throughout the whole play. The difference in the skin tones of the actors provided a greater contrast and helped me understand Laertes’ role much better.
Another thing that I really liked about the play was Ophelia’s camera. I think that the choice to give her a hobby made her a deeper character. It showed that she was interested in capturing the beauty of the world around her, just like how she gathered flowers. When she drags her trunk of photos out onstage before she kills herself, it foreshadows to the audience that she’s given up on the beauties of this world and they no longer have meaning for her.
All in all, I’d definitely watch this show again! I’d love to pick out further nuances in it!