Reflections by GVPTA blogger Gerald Williams
Spoiler alert - Rosencrantz and Guildenstern die. I know Hamlet enough that I get it; a guy’s annoyed his dad was killed by his uncle who marries his mom so he drives his girlfriend to suicide and hangs out with the skull of an old buddy as one sometimes does. I’m not exactly an expert, but not entirely unaware of what I’m getting into.
I often shy away from Shakespeare productions because ones I’ve seen can present themselves like Elvis’ impersonators with the audience being tasked to watch someone have fun doing something they enjoy with music you like – nothing for the audience. That is not the case with the Sandbox Production of Hamlet directed by J-C Roy. I enjoyed my evening at this play. I was entertained. I’m glad I went.
The first time I saw a Shakespeare play was Macbeth at Stratford in Ontario. It was part of a high school trip to get cultured. I have two vivid memories of that production. The first was the stillness in the hands of Lady Macbeth. I was mesmerized by her lack of movement filling the theatre. The second was that I wasn’t bored. I had of course been studying the play in school, and was shown one of the film versions in class, which I recall being boring and incomprehensible. The fact that I wasn’t bored during the live production at Stratford came as a real shock to me, and, and this must be partly why it stands out, a close friend and I secretly confessed to each other that we liked it. Liking a Shakespeare play and other teenage male secrets, how exciting.
There is a lot of theatre in Vancouver at different levels of ability and detail. Some people, I have been told, only see productions from particular companies. This is very supportive, but limiting. It would be similar to living in New York but only going to see shows produced in one theatre. Other people apparently only see shows that their friends are in. Can you imagine only watching TV shows that your friends are in? This may be admirable, but I’d quickly have to change my definition of friend. There are other reasons for going to see a play. It might be a good script. It might have production decisions that make you see something new. It might even be something that you know but want to see again.
When my companion and I drove home after the show we talked a lot about why people should go and see this show and why people will resist going. We talked about what surprised us, and what we’d forgotten. We talked about things we liked and didn’t like. We had one of those 25 minute drives where all we talked about was the production we’d seen, about Shakespeare, about a play we’d like to produce together. We talked theatre. Go and see Hamlet with a friend. Then talk theatre. Surprise yourself.
For information and tickets: https://thecultch.com/events/hamlet/
Cast: Kurtis Maguire, Meghan Hemingway, David Quast, Yvonne Gustafson, Tatiana Robinson, Devon Oakander, Tara Webster, Lloyd Darling, and Ryan Caron
Director: J-C Roy
Sandbox Theatre presents Hamlet running June 8-10, 14-17, 21-24, 2017 at 7:30pm at the Vancity Culture Lab (1895 Venables Street)