By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
The centerpiece, however, is Chang’s Hamlet, whose ruminations are tenderly wrought with soft-spoken clarity. When his blood boils, however — and who would Hamlet be without some blood boiling — Chang loses control with petulant screeching and flailing. And though Tucker must have been thrilled to get William Hurt on those TV screens, in a scene with Gertrude, Hamlet looks out into empty space when describing the ghost of his father. (Evidently, Hurt wasn’t available to put in a live appearance.)
The consequence is that we share Gertrude’s apprehension that her son is nuts, hearing voices in his head. But if we’re not also seeing the ghost on the stage, we’re just jurors watching a madman, while we lounge. What’s the point of Alice in Wonderland if we’re not inside Alice’s head? What’s the point of Hamletif it’s just about a nutty fellow rather than a world gone mad? For this, among other reasons, the production is at odds with itself, atmospherically exotic, slightly glib, goofing on the play — in focus and out and in again.
The Ghost (Clifford Reed) does appear in John Farmanesh-Bocca’s comparatively straightforward production on an almost bare stage at the Met. What it lacks in environment, it more than compensates for with its own touches of wit — Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (Julianna Johnson and Rachel Binder) show up as mini-skirted schoolgirls in a pedophile’s dream, Jeanine Haan’s costumes feature some red-on-red flare, while text coach Louis Scheeder has paid such attention to the cadence and clarity of the words, the play floats around us like a magic carpet.
Adam T. Rosencrance (no relation) does the Dane as a nerd, a riff on Harry Potter with a small lisp and a sense of wonder, and growing fury. There’s little imposition of directorial prerogative. Farmanesh-Bocca’s small, cinephilic concept allows the play to breathe, with sound designer Adam Phalen’s orchestral soundtrack punctuating and, at times, accompanying entire speeches. Rosencrance is credited as one of the producers for a company called Liberation! Films. Maybe he’s doing this to get into the movies. Maybe he’s doing it as an antidote to this company town’s toxins. The man’s a good actor. I’m not standing in line to belittle his motives.?
HAMLET | By WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE | Presented by CHANGTASIA and LYRIC HYPERION PRODUCTIONS and the STELLA ADLER THEATER, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood | Through March 19 | (323) 464-8871
HAMLET| By WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE | Presented by LIBERATION! FILMS and the MET THEATER, 1089 N. Oxford Ave., Hollywood | Through March 19 | (323) 957-1152