RUMPUS Theatre, Bowden, Wed 1 Dec, 2021.
Hamlet is probably the most important play from theatre’s most famous writer. So why would this new (formed in 2020), all-female theatre group take on this icon? Well, extreme times call for big ideas. This is no time to be timid, with crisis and emergencies the new normal.
While respecting the original text, this talented, equally balanced cast focuses on current issues like misogyny, for example by questioning the treatment of Ophelia as abusive. In essence Hamlet has one driving theme, the choice to take action: will he ever choose to take revenge? The rest is… rumination, for what was Shakespeare’s longest work. Somehow this bright young ensemble not only condense the whole story but manage to give all the vital elements extra delightful doses of music, dance and comedy.
With joyful exuberance this group harnesses the force of a collective ensemble, i.e. the sum is greater than the parts. Yes, they celebrate the ‘old’ language while showing the need for new, challenging forms. Beyond the device of procession theatre, where the audience is led to various sites, this production happens in parallel spaces, so each member of the audience is faced with the necessity to choose – or not. This exercises our choice muscles, welcome in a world where there’s no time left to think, let alone decide. This results in us losing the ‘suspension of disbelief’ but gaining the courage to take action. This also creates FOMO, the fear of missing out, our most present trope when constant images and information mean we can only catch some and not all.
My interest in Shakespeare was revived recently when it was alleged that the true author of the works, Sir Henry Neville, was finally found. Others contend that his works were written by a woman. The point is, such a similarly huge shift in mindset is exactly what this group is prepared to tackle.
This openly and proudly feminist theatre presents a parallel power to connect with and educate the male privilege of patriarchy. Without any hint of confrontation they hold the mirror up to the pathetic weakness of perpetuating male dominance.
Ingeniously this immersive theatre experience manages to draw into its vortex many of our pressing problems, as we are privy to the private thoughts and lives of the actors. They expose the discussions and development behind the performance happening nearby in real time. But there is no way to know where and when is the ‘right’ time and place to be – or not to be.
Hamlet In The Other Room continues at RUMPUS Theatre, 100 Sixth Street, Bowden, at various times, until Sun 12 Dec.
Bookings at RUMPUS and EventBrite. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.
Presented by Good Theatre Company
Produced by Kidaan Zelleke and Poppy Mee
Directed by Zola Allen