This Is Not Hamlet

Yesterday was the opening night of This Is Not Hamlet, a production by the Monash University Student Theatre. I have to admit I was never a fan of Hamlet, the desperate spiral of the fight between life and death and the continuous driving monologue  sometimes makes me want to jump up and shake the character were he alive. Shakespeare’s comedies and lighter playful madness such as present in A Midsummer Night’s Dream are more to my liking. However This Is Not Hamlet was certainly a sound interpretation and its feminist adaptation brought forward the lives of these strong women caught in the snare and intrigues of a power hungry male patriarch who slowly brought them crumbling into the fears which beleaguers women everywhere;- isolation,  rape, voicelessness, violence.

Kate Dix plays the young, morose Hamlet who saw the loss of her father through death and her mother through marriage to a despised uncle. She is plagued by grief  and driven to insanity by voices in the dark urging her to effect revenge and she slowly discovers her isolation, accompanied only by mischievous beloved Horatio (Tess Ebinger) the guiding manifestation of her unraveling mind. The rest of the cast includes Gertrude (Kaitlyn Clare), the mother whom Hamlet sees as weak and effectual but really also a woman caught unable to find her voice as she is shackled from one man to another and who really loves her daughter, the beautiful and tragic Ophelia (Tamuz Ellazam) unable to let Hamlet know of her love and is instead raped and found her death early, Polonius (Iona Roy) the mother of Ophelia and Laertes and the woman who attempts to play the game and connives with the usurper to spy on Hamlet and was later shot, resulting in the duel between Laertes (Harrison Packer) and Hamlet. The cast is rounded off by Osric (Jorge Tsipos), the Bodyguard (Chris Bradley), Guildenstern and Rosencrantz and the Gravediggers (Jessica Daynes and Kathy Schoenjahn). A resounding applause should be awarded to Jack Lawicki who plays Claudius, the man who held all these women’s lives in his hands and whose act of grabbing Ophelia and breathing through her hair established him firmly as the perversion which ran openly throughout the story.

This Is Not Hamlet is performed in the MUST Theatre, Campus Centre, Monash University, Clayton.
Fri 7 May – Sat 8 May @ 7.30pm
Tue 11 May – Sat 15 May @7.30pm

Tickets: $16 adult, $13 concession & $10 for members of the Monash Shakespeare Company
Bookings: t: 9905 1012 | e: shakespeare@monashclubs.org

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