Hamlet Double Bill

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The Rest is Silence or “Not to be: Hamlet Revisited”

The Play’s The Thing or “To be: Hamlet Retold

La Ribalta Teatro & The English Theatre Company (ITALY)

Selection, ShakeSphere 2024, European Shakespeare Festivals Network

Thursday April 18, 7:30pm

York St John University Creative Centre Auditorium

3 actors in 2 plays of 1 act, riffing on HAMLET:  

Written, directed and perfomed by Alberto Ierardi, Giorgio Vierda, and Adrian Hughes

Production by La Ribalta Teatro & the English Theatre Company

Why “Double Bill”? Well the idea is to give voice to two different points of view of the Hamlet story: that of the Gravediggers and of the Players. Gravediggers and Players are the material executors of the fate that revolves around Elsinore: they represent the beginning and the end of Hamlet’s story. They open and close the dances. If the Players are the spark that ignites in Hamlet the idea of unmasking King Claudius through the staging of what happened at the Danish court, the Gravediggers are the end of the suffering of the characters in the text, as they ascertain the end, relative and absolute, of Hamlet’s vicissitudes. If the Players are the inventors of life and its possible plots, the gravediggers are the custodians of death and the end of the characters’ lives. And it is precisely this unconscious importance they hold throughout the text that makes them, unbeknownst to themselves,  such comic characters.

“The Rest is Silence” begins at the end of Hamlet’s text. In the churchyard where they laid Ophelia to rest, the gravediggers are digging again. They must now inter Hamlet, Gertrude, Claudius, and Laertes (to say nothing of Polonius, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern) before the day is done. Fortinbras, the new King, commanded it. Whilst they dig, they catch, as if on the wind, fragments of the words and thoughts of those who once were ‘too, too solid flesh’. The gravediggers know all too well though, that ‘all that lives must die, passing through nature to eternity.’ And so the characters of Hamlet revive momentarily and relive their actions.

“The Play’s The Thing”, on the other hand, is characterised by a decidedly different slant: brilliant, comically full of stumbles and flops, of mistakes and reinterpretations of the story itself, fantastic and full of actions of play within a play. After the dubious success of The Mousetrap at the court of King Hamlet, the players are on the road again with their latest production: “The Play’s The Thing!” ‘Holding, as t’were, the mirror up to nature’, they also know that time is of the essence, and no audience has the time or patience to sit through three and a half hours of 400-year-old English verse. The players must be quick and clever to keep their audiences enthralled, while they are telling their version of the Hamlet’s story.

On stage only three actors and two languages: Italian and English.

Running time is 60 minutes without an interval.

Tickets £15 full price £5 concessions – bookings through the link below

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