DC Fringe: Bad Hamlet

Bad Hamlet
Adequate Players

Venue: The Bodega - at The Trading Post

Remaining Performances
Jul 17th 10:30 pm
Jul 19th 4:45 pm
Jul 22nd 7 pm

Their description: Two Be Or Not Two Be! Hamlet was published twice: a 1604 bootleg 'Bad' edition and the familiar 1623 version. BAD HAMLET is an hour-long mashup of the two texts, where the various differences illuminate and deepen Shakespeare's masterpiece. 60 minutes

This is definitely a must see if you are a Shakespeare junkie like me. If not, the show’s probably not for you. Playwright John Geoffrion has mashed up the Quarto Hamlet (often known as the “bad quarto”) against the Folio Hamlet. Two Hamlets (John Robert Keena and Matt Volner) interact onstage, some times responding to each other, some times being inspired by the other, sometimes even arguing. The result is quite intellectually engaging, and Geoffrion wisely makes the two texts interact in different ways. Sometimes he chooses one over the other (which is fascinating in sections you know quite well, because you hear the text of the unspoken version in your head), sometimes the two texts ping pong back and forth, and sometimes the texts are spoken on top of each other. Sometimes things get a little muddy – everyone’s dressed in black, but the quarto characters have some white, and the folio characters some red, but occasionally these colors get mixed up, or a character from one version will talk to a character from the other version, which I think confuses the point at times. The show is at its best when we hear the two Hamlets giving their respective versions of the big soliloquies.

3 stars


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