I was very excited to see Shakespeare's Hamlet come to life. I first read Hamlet in high school and it left a lasting impact on me. Every time I see or read Hamlet, I pay special attention to each character's transition to crazy, because of Hamlet's pursuit of revenge. It just proves to me that revenge is unnecessary and that it leaves more repercussions than positive outcomes.
On the day of the performance, I almost walked by the theatre because it looked more like a coffee place, because the theater was combined with the Everyman Espresso coffee place.
The first thing that stood out to me was that there wasn't much set. The characters were dressed in modern attire. Mostly all the males were dressed in suits and the females were dressed in modern ball gowns. The play still kept the Shakespearean dialogue. Okay, okay. The play wasn't exactly like the 1996 movie Romeo+Juliet, where the Montagues and the Capulets were mafia empires and they used guns instead of swords. Needless to say, the play wasn't a classical version of the play either. I liked it because it helped break the ice for me to connect more to Hamlet.
The play started with a guard on the watch, while Hamlet and the people at court sat at a table. This production hinted that there was a night watch by having the guard shivering and walking around the table. I was first disappointed that there was no one playing the ghost in the play. Nevertheless, my opinion quickly changed. I was absolutely amazed when the guard spoke to the audience as if we were the ghost. He looked so shaken and even I started feeling shivers looking at him. I became completely mesmerized by him.
Not only did Hamlet lose his mind but almost all the characters did by the end of the play. Ophelia became crazy after Hamlet tells her he doesn't love her and Hamlet killed her father. During, Ophelia ripped the curtain off where Hamlet stabbed her father and started walking around with it. On top of that, Laertes soon develops his own form of revenge on Hamlet. He calls Hamlet on a sword fight, which causes the death of both of them. This just further highlights my take on revenge: just don't do it only leads to tragic downfalls.
Side note: The entire play was 3 1/2 hours long and had only a ten minutes intermission.
(Another side note: Who knew that Peter Sarsgaard (playing Hamlet) would be such a good fencer? He looked like a pro.)
(Just one more side note: I didn't quite understand why every actor were drinking during the show. As long as they didn't forget their lines or fall off stage. Am I right?)