|In his most ambitious project ever, OFF
THE WALL THEATRE Director Dale Gutzman suspended his 2015-16 season
for eight weeks to work intensely with ten actors on a radical new version
of William Shakespeare's HAMLET. The play ran for three weeks.
Thanks to the kind donations of loyal OFF THE WALL supporters, Gutzman
was able to close the space, continue to pay the rent and spend the extra
time workshopping a highly re-structured and edited version of what is
considered the world's most famous play. Gutzman's approach was inspired
by a fast-paced, thrilling, highly intimate production of the play created
by Peter Brook, a veritable Guru of Theatre and Shakespeare.
"One of the exciting things about Shakespeare
is that we are able to explore and examine diverse elements in his rich
works. No single production can ever encompass the vast world of ideas
and feelings he includes in each of his plays, so every production, whether
in London, New York, Chicago or Milwaukee, looks at a play like HAMLET
through a limited perspective. The options Mr. Shakespeare gives us serve
to boggle our minds.
There are no right or wrong answers to
1. Does Hamlet love or hate his mother?
2. Does Gertrude know more than she lets
3. Does Hamlet really love Ophelia?
4. Is it right or wrong to seek revenge?
5.Are we in control of our own destiny?
6.Is Hamlet really Mad?
7.Can a person ever really be "authentic"
and literally hundreds more.
Every production uses the complex text
to justify their choices, and Shakespeare's marvelous ambiguity allows
for various interpretations. It is usually the person who actually knows
very little about Shakespeare's plays who insists on a single or "correct"
way to look at them. Traditionalists are more steeped in their own limited
exposure to the plays than they are in the plays themselves.
So Gutzman and his talented hand-picked
cast shut themselves up in his shoe-box theater to prepare an intimate
production of HAMLET that played to only twenty-five people a performance.
The acting took place only a few feet from the front row of patrons, and
the characters interacted directly with the audience. Gutzman spent almost
two years sorting through hundreds of productions of the play, searching
for the key choices made by others, and in March 2016 presented these choices
to his cast, saying to them..."JUSTIFY EVERYTHING YOU DO BY THE TEXT!"