An Unabridged Hamlet

Seeing Hamlet when you’re pushing 50 is different than when you’re in your 20s or 30s, and not just because the whole damn play is arguably about mortality, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

You can tell that every scene in Nuance Theatre’s unabridged Hamlet, which is up for one more weekend through this Saturday, has been worked on and worked on, and I suppose that’s the point of this production: to cover all the “B” scenes that usually get cut by smaller company productions.

There are solid performances all over the place, though they miss one another at times. Since they bring differing styles they rarely seem like they’re reacting to what happened in the previous scene. Each one is rather a clean slate with a well-executed dramatic moment. Consequently the gears aren’t always engaged. If there’s any flaw in the show overall, it’s in the wider direction. The yarn being spun by the playwright rarely feels suspenseful.

Kudos, nonetheless, to this small company for doing the whole play. Scenes I’d previously found filler or “mere set up,” such as Polonius’ advice to his daughter Ophelia in Act One, felt very real this time. $25 for the whole classic, just a block from Times Square.

hamlet

Young love, deadly as it can be, gets eclipsed by its elders’ problems in Hamlet.

When you’re young you read the Hamlet-Horatio or Hamlet-Ophelia scenes carefully, and regard the scenes between the prince and his elders as just that: reasoned limitations that the powers-that-be are placing on your hero’s freedom. Step-dad saying you can’t go to Lebanon for spring break.

As you age – I could say “mature,” but let’s be real – you start seeing Hamlet’s mother Gertrude and his step-dad Claudius, and even clownish old Polonius, as real people with real problems. (Jurgen Jones, who plays Claudius, is a friend of mine; he is at once regal and completely Jurgen.) They are the sun and moon of this show, and arguably of the play itself.

 

 

 

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