Theatre Mirror Reviews - "I Am Hamlet"

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note: entire contents copyright 2010 by Larry Stark

"I Am Hamlet"

Adaptation by Joe Siracusa
Directed by Joe Siracusa

Music by Brian Morey
Ghost, Puppets & Props Design by Martin Brycki
Graphics & Web Design by Sibriski Brikonovich
Liaison & Sorcery by Melanie Tripiciano
Boston Producer Martin Siracusa
Production Supervisor Gimmi Tripiciano

Performed by Brian Morey

This all too briefly performed solo show may return to Boston, hopefully with a longer run and more effective publicity. A consumation devoutly to be wished!

Although this is "a one-man show" Brian Morey freely admits himself the visible tip of a creative iceberg. He didn't write the play --- Shakespeare wrote most of it, and Joe Siracusa took chunks of dialogue and the plot, directing it in such a way that a single actor could, in less than two hours, taking all parts --- some in masks --- bring a relentlessly energetic summation of all major themes to the stage. The "play wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King" is here a brilliant brief parody of old silent-movie over-acting and minimalist dialogue-cards. The mask of Polonius has white hair and beard so long as to sweep the actor's ankles as he speaks. The grave-diggers are a dangling-skeleton hand-puppet skull talking to a stick-puppet in the other hand. And Ophelia wears a dress to make one ignore Hamlet's 5-o'clock shadow.

But this help and support in no way detracts from Brian Morey's own talents and inventiveness. He has provided music and sometimes lyrics, and performs the songs that punctuate the performance with verve and energy. His voice is huge, yet completely comprehensible in whispers. When he becomes King Claudius by donning a crown and sitting on a throne, his intense eyes seem to swell and his voice also swells with the madness of usurped power. Yet Ophelia's monstrous little voice speaks of her thwarted love, and sings madly at the death of her father at her one true love's hand. And when, laying about him with one of five different swords, his Hamlet dies finally avenged, the moment is one of true tragedy.

This pocket-version of Shakespeare's masterpiece flashed on the BCA's Black-Box stage so briefly it was gone before one could say It Lightens. Should it shine again in Boston, its light should not be ignored.

( a k a larry stark )

"I Am Hamlet" (26 - 31 January)
@ Boston Center for The Arts, 539 Tremont Street, BOSTON MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide