I’ve seen “Hamlet” at least two dozen times. A benefit of being a critic. So I’m eager to see Bedlam’s “Hamlet” — 4 actors playing over 25 roles — at McCarter because I crave new ways to look at old shows, even if it was conceived this way due to a shoestring budget.
Throughout 47 years of theatergoing (before you do the math, I started young … real young), some of my best experiences were at low-budget, off-Broadway or off-off-Broadway theaters that didn’t recognize a fourth wall, depended on brains, creativity, hard work, devotion to craft, enthusiasm, family, friends, donors and thrill-seeking audiences willing to take risks — just like the actors.
Patti LuPone has a vocal ally in Benedict Cumberbatch, currently starring in the title role in the West End production of “Hamlet,” who pleaded with fans to turn off their cell phones during performances of Shakespeare’s drama at the Barbican Centre.
“I can see cameras, I can see red lights in the auditorium. And it may not be any of you here that did that but it’s blindingly obvious, like that one there, that little red light,” the NYTimes reported Cumberbatch said to theatergoers who crowded around the stage door during the first days of a limited engagement in London. Its 12-week run ends Oct. 31 and tickets sold out in about seven hours.
Earlier that night he stopped then resumed the famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy because saw a “little red light” near the third row during the performance.
The National Theatre in London is mounting a new production of “Hamlet” and people are going wild trying to get tickets to the 12-week limited run. They’re calling the box office and signing on to multiple devices from such places as Siberia, New Zealand, Peru, Japan and Indonesia to get the coveted tickets. And why? Benedict Cumberbatch.
National Theatre Live has revealed the plays it will broadcast in venues around the world this Spring and the offerings are tantalizing. It includes the first (of I hope many) Broadway productions — “Of Mice and Men” with James Franco and Chris O’Dowd — and, this fall, Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet.
Also scheduled are the classics “A View From the Bridge” and “Man and Superman,” and new plays by Tom Stoppard and David Hare.”
” ‘Wittenberg’ should delight Tom Stoppard fans, recovering English majors, disillusioned academics and anyone who has ever wondered what Helen of Troy was like in the sack,” reads the press release from the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey about the David Davalos play in which Doctor Faustus, Martin Luther, and Hamlet are united.
According to the press release, “Wittenberg” is “A play that the Philadelphia Inquirer winkingly celebrates as ‘a decent Protestant Reformation comedy!’ Witty observation. Wish I’d written it.
“Wittenberg” begins in northern Germany in 1517 on the University of Wittenberg campus. ( a real place.) Young Hamlet, prince of Denmark, (not a real person) is a senior, unsure of his beliefs after an eye-opening summer spent studying abroad. Upon his return to school, he seeks guidance from his two trusted professors—philosopher John Faustus (not real) and theologian Martin Luther (super real).