Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Hamlet in Bed @ The Rattlestick Theater

Tucked away in Greenwich Village, far, far away from the lights + noise of Times Square lives a beautifully intelligent and emotionally driven new work called Hamlet in Bed.

Written and starring the brilliant Michael Laurence, this play supersedes expectations of “yet another new interpretation of the classic.” 

The theatre is laid out in such a way that you feel a part of the set and story. Complete with exposed green room, set shop and yes, you even go visit the powder room on the stage if need be; one certainly feels at home in the atmosphere.

At the top of show, we are presented with a problem: Michael thinks he IS Hamlet. Silly, yes, but then we come to find out the thought process behind his rational. Michael, an adopted native New Yorker buys a diary at a thrift store penned by an the actress named Anna playing Ophelia. Through this journal, we find out that Anna gets pregnant by the actor playing Hamlet and after she delivers the baby and gives him up for adoption, the father kills himself. The date is Michael’s birthday. Michael believes that Anna must be his mother, finds her and casts her as Gertrude in his production of “Hamlet in Bed.” During the rehearsal process is a series of isolated vignettes that showcase their journeys culminating to their production. They agree that Michael must be Anna’s son and they both feel a little bit more complete than they have before.

This two character powerhouse really explores the inner mechanics of how the actor prepares while providing a fascinating story that everyone was so invested in. Michael Laurence is absolutely heartbreaking in his delivery and demeanor. We see how broken a person can be without a paternal figure and how it translates into their everyday choices. Annette O’Toole is equally as heartbreaking and chilling as a woman who let one choice ruin her entire path. She drips pathos and heart ache throughout all her solo moments and the strong woman she tries to be when she’s around Michael.

“I got all these beds because I think Hamlet would be in bed. So depressed he can’t get out so he does the whole play here” Michael explains. 

For a thought provoking night out, I strongly advise you to check out HAMLET IN BED. Special pieces such as these come around once every few seasons. You’ll never quite look at Hamlet the same way again.
Review By: Brittany Goodwin
Photos By: Tristan Fuge

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