HOW TO HAMLET
April 7, 2017
Hear this! HERE is a fantastic venue for experimental theatre, something that NYC used to have tons of. HERE Artistic Director Kristin Marting and Producing Director Kim Whitener are carrying on the tradition of producing “affordable, challenging and alternative, something new and fresh, supporting the work of artists at all stages in their careers.” HERE has a chic space with a bar, video art screens, and two theatres.
How to Hamlet, or Hamleting Hamlet appears as part of their Sublet Series@HERE. It begins absolutely promising with 4 young friends sitting in the front row of the audience becoming increasingly agitated as they realize they are the show. They quickly reveal their wit and set us up for a rollicking good time. Sam Corbin, in particular, jumped out as someone with the uncanny timing of the late Gilda Radner. Her cohorts Nathaniel Basch-Gould, Joshua William Gelb, and Emily Marro all bristle with intelligence and presence.
How to Hamlet playwrights John Kurzynowski and Jon Riddleberger thrust their cast into the spotlight, unprepared and unrehearsed. With this nightmarish premise, the four begin to doubt their every instinct. From their marvelous, seductive beginning to the hapless finale, the 4 actors gamely perform an inadvertent tragedy that begins as a farce, leaving us wishing they had stayed with the farce.
Created and performed by Theater Reconstruction Ensemble, the co-author Kurzynowski directed the play with Lauren Swan-Potras. One can understanding why Marting and Whitener would support the play, though it cries for editing. The spot-on rhythm of the direction disappeared as soon as the play begins and the actorsake their seat, self-consciously and obviously behind the row of lights. There after, we witness their embarrassment as their minds fail them.
The play seemed less a meditation on Hamlet and more an expose of how academia can stymie emotional clarity. But a re-write and new direction with the same cast could save it all.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY - - Deirdre Towers