#InRehearsal: Like Hamlet - A post-modern, poetic interpretation of A Shakespearean classic.
Anex Theatre Productions presents, Like Hamlet, Written by Andi Colombo and Directed by Kanya Viljoen. It is post-modern, poetic interpretation of the Shakespearean classic, Hamlet, exploring the lives of 4 key characters (Hamlet, Ophelia, Gertrude and Claudius) Portrayed by Mlondi Dubazane, Andi Colombo, Kathleen Stephens and Matthew Stuurman.
This interpretation of the Shakespeare original was born out of a need/desire to see what the characters would get up to in other spaces, how they would operate being divorced, from their context, and also what would happen if the characters in Hamlet were granted the opportunity to speak for themselves, as well as be truthful to their feelings. It also lifts these key characters out of context of the play and into a liminal, cyclical space, where human emotions such as lust, betrayal, love and jealousy, all become magnified. Not only do these characters find themselves speaking through, against, around and away from one another, they also explore the dualities of brightness and darkness; truth and deceit, voice and body.
The script depicts longing, desire, intimacy, anger and mourning, not only within the written language but within the body itself. Exploring many themes that are relevant within our current context, focusing on experiences such as falling in love, struggling with communication, falling out of love and being hurt, which all relate to many people's life experiences.
We had a Brief Chat with Andi Colombo and Kanya Viljoen:
1. What inspired the piece?
A: Honestly, it’s always been one of my dreams to be in a production of Hamlet, and I always said I would write myself a role in an interpretation of the classic text. I’ve also always been fascinated by the female characters in Hamlet – they are so pivotal, but very rarely have space to speak in the text. I wondered what they would say, or do, or how they would relate to others if they were allowed more room, more space in which to exist. At a point in my fourth year of studying at UCT, I found myself inspired one evening and wrote half the text in one sitting. In the writing process, the play developed past what I could have imagined or planned out.
2. What has the journey been like for you as a director?
K: The directorial experience has been nothing but a pleasure and a wonderful opportunity to learn, question and unlearn. The most rewarding part has been the people I have been fortunate enough to work with on this exciting project. Each performer is not only challenging themselves personally, but as a whole, they are all searching for new form and style, for those moments of honesty and truth, for something that could either move or rupture each other, and it is within this search that the story is emerging.
3. What has the journey been like for you?
A: It’s been challenging playing Ophelia. There’s so much of myself in her. That means that in getting to know her as a character, I also have to look really deeply into myself and be comfortable with being completely vulnerable and open on stage. I have really loved this challenge, and I’m so lucky to be in the position to work so delicately with a character, and also, at the same time, with myself.
K: Personally, the most challenging aspect has been the search for form or style within this aesthetic world we created, a world of poetry, of body and object. The piece isn’t trying to replicate a world known to us and yet, it isn’t not known. I think that’s a really enthralling mess to be in, but a mess nonetheless.
4. What do you enjoy most about the process?
A: This process has really given me a sense of gratefulness. I’m constantly aware of how lucky I am to be able to be part of creating a new work. I’m so grateful for the opportunity that Anex gave us, and it’s made me appreciate the act of creating much more than I ever did while studying. What a privilege it is to be in a rehearsal room, with such amazing, talented and supportive artists, every day for a month!
K: I can honestly say that the most rewarding and enjoyable part of the process has been the team of people creating the performance. It feels so precious to have four people who are wholeheartedly willing to trust you and the vision you carry, four people who are willing to go at ‘it’ hard, without restraint, completely vulnerable.
5. Why should someone watch it, and why do you think this story is important?
A: The play is intimate and honest, and somewhat sad. Essentially, it explores themes of love, and loneliness, and longing, and those things are relatable to many people. I think it’s important to find space to express these emotions, to find space to meditate on human interaction and love, and loss.
K: Like Hamlet holds, at its core, something honest and the honesty isn’t necessarily beautiful or comforting. It disturbs. It evokes. And that’s important, to witness something that doesn’t shy away from the loneliness existing entails.
"Like Hamlet" will be on from the 15 - 19 May 2018 at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective in Observatory. Ticket prices are R70/R50 (Concessions) and you are able to book them by contacting email@example.com to secure your seat!
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