Wednesday, January 28, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Shakespeare’s Globe returns to Mondavi with two nights of ‘Hamlet’

Hamlet (Michael Benz) and Laertes (Matthew Romain) cross swords in the touring production by Shakespeare's Globe on London, which will perform Nov. 1-2 at Mondavi. Courtesy Shakespeare’s Globe

By
From page A11 | October 30, 2012 |

Check it out

What: “Hamlet”

When: 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday

Where: Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts

Tickets: $35-$58 general, $17.50-$29 students

Info: www.mondaviarts.org or 530-754-2787

“Hamlet” is a famous, famous play. Just about everybody knows the line “To be, or not to be…” And when you see a picture of a moody young man holding a skull in his hand, pondering the fleeting nature of life, the association with this most prominent of Shakespeare’s tragedies is instantaneous — even for folk who’ve never actually seen the play.

But widely held audience preconceptions can cut both ways. And director Dominic Dromgoole realized this full well when he put together a production for the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London last year. That production is now on tour, and visits the Mondavi Center on Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m. in Jackson Hall.

Dromgoole told the Boston Globe that his goal was to somehow get around the “colossal juggernaut of baggage” that this landmark script carries, after 400 years of productions.

“We try to make everything we do at the Globe as fresh as possible and to escape the straitjacket of preconceptions for whatever play we’re doing. That’s a hard job with any play, but it’s an immensely difficult job with ‘Hamlet,’ ” he said.

The result is what has been described as “a fleet-footed, stripped-down production that features a compact, two-tiered wooden stage and just eight performers playing more than two dozen roles. The actors bang drums, strum guitars and clang on bells onstage and off, creating all of the sound effects.

Clocking in at about 2 hours, 40 minutes, it’s a brisk staging of a play that routinely runs three hours or more. But it maintains key material that shorter versions often excise, according to the Boston Globe. Several actors take multiple roles, and a few minor characters fall by the wayside.

Drumgoole described it as “a way of being able to do ‘Hamlet’ without all of the pomp and the seriousness and the rather excessive faux gravity that it usually carries around beside it. I wanted it to be staged with the freshness and enthusiasm that I imagine (existed when) it was first done.”

The Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London is open to the sky — plays are done there during daylight hours, as was the custom in Shakespeare’s time. Typically, when this touring production of “Hamlet” visits an indoor venue like the Mondavi Center, the house lights are left on during the performance, in an effort to replicate natural light. As a result, the actors can see the audience, and “that is a massive transformative element, in that you can look into the audience’s eyes,” Dromgoole said.

The director also offered some advice to the boyish-looking actor Michael Benz, who plays the title role.

“You don’t have to play Hamlet as sad,” Dromgoole said. “That is the single most famous fact in Western culture: that Hamlet is sad. So if you come off and try and look sad, it’s always going to be a disappointment, or it’s just going to conform to a stereotype. It’s understood that he’s sad. Just explore other sides of him.”

Hamlet has plenty to be sad about. His father, the king, has died suddenly under mysterious circumstances. His uncle Claudius swiftly ascended the throne, and married Hamlet’s mother Gertrude in what Hamlet regards as unseemly haste. But actor Benz said he’s tried not to present the moody young prince (still a university student) as “petulant and moody, like a pissed-off teenage boy. If  Hamlet is too melancholy and too full of angst, I think the audience tires of it a little bit. You’ve got to play with his flips of emotions. Moments of humor and lightness come out of the most tragic, horrible things.”

One other thing about this production — at a moment when you may not be expecting it, the actors execute a jig. Boston’s public radio station WBUR ran a webpage headline saying “Hey, Hamlet, Let’s Dance.” The New York Times reviewer remarked on Hamlet “cutting a rug.”

This is not the first time that a touring Shakespeare’s Globe production has come to the Mondavi Center. In November 2009, its touring production of the comedy “Love’s Labours Lost” played to a sold-out audience in Jackson Hall. Consequently, there are two evening performances of “Hamlet” this time around (tickets are still available for both), as well as a sold-out student matinee.

UC Davis and Shakespeare’s Globe also have an ongoing relationship that has seen local high school and junior high school teachers go to London to study the most effective ways of teaching Shakespeare to teenage students.

Tickets for “Hamlet” are $35-$58 general, $17.50-$29 students, available at www.mondaviarts.org or 530-754-2787.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at jhudson@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8055.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    Police ID suspect in South Davis hit-and-run crash

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

     
    Shrem Art Museum is a work of art itself

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Thieves swipe Gold Rush-era nuggets

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Blizzard-stricken East digs out amid second-guessing

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    CASA seeks volunteers to advocate for kids

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    UC Davis doctors strike

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Community invited to Fenocchio memorial

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    SHE to lead Center for Spiritual Living in sound healing

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Teens Take Charge program accepting applications

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Kiwanis Crab, Pasta Feed benefits local charities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Registration open for PSA Day at Davis Media Access

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Brick sales will benefit Hattie Weber Museum

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Take a hike with Tuleyome on Feb. 7

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    The Soup’s On for NAMI-Yolo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Sip wines at St. James’ annual tasting

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Capay Valley Almond Festival will tempt your taste buds

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Suds for a bug: Contest is over

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A7

    Rebekahs’ crab feed benefits local families

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Learn pattern darning tips at guild meeting

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    State fails to track billions in mental health funds

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    CSU chancellor calls for increasing graduation rates

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Covered California enrollment events planned

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Forum

    Family feels cut off here

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Let’s speak with accuracy

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    A stunning contradiction here

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    It’s the final freedom

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Move past the stereotypes

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Think again on euthanasia

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

     
    Davis club ruggers open with nationally celebrated Jesuit on Friday

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Williams-less Gauchos will test Aggie men

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Devil snowboarders place second in short and slushy GS

    By Margo Roeckl | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Lady Blue Devils take care of business

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DHS ski team takes second on a déjà vu day

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    Name droppers: Arboretum director wins leadership award

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Lemon tree, very pretty: Our most local fruit?

    By Dan Kennedy | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    .

    Arts

    Red Meat, Deke Dickerson bring rockabilly honky-tonk twang to The Palms

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Granger Smith to play at The Davis Graduate

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Art science speaker series event set for Feb. 5

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Young musicians to perform Winter Concerto Concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Mary Beth Warzecka

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Death notice: Betty J. Cogburn

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, January 28, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B6