ArtsEmerson “Hamlet” Review

Jason Madanjian ’15 / Emertainment Monthly Staff

ArtsEmerson presents “Hamlet.” Photo property of ArtsEmerson.

Selecting a single Shakespeare piece as his most revered work is akin to meeting Shakespeare himself: impossible. Yet, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, visiting Boston from across the pond in London, makes a convincing case that Hamlet is the master playwright’s ultimate masterpiece.

When it first debuted, Hamlet was not an over-analyzed work of art. Simply, it was a play that audiences knew little to nothing about upon first viewing. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre honors that notion with a startlingly fresh, fast-paced take on Hamlet. Even if you know Hamlet by heart, this is required viewing.

As Hamlet, Michael Benz is a revelation. Of the numerous interpretations of the character I have seen, his is not only the most accurate age-wise, but emotionally as well. His descent into angsty madness is subtle when it needs to be and effectively, heartbreakingly over-the-top at others.

Other actors are equally compelling, including the beautiful Carlyss Peer as Ophelia. After learning her father has been killed, she takes her already stellar performance to new heights. Her grief not only breaks her heart, but the audiences as well.

Shakespeare’s characters, particularly in Hamlet, are extremely multi-faceted and complicated. So, it was a wise choice for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre to take a more simplistic approach regarding other areas of the production, particularly set design.

On Emerson’s Paramount Center Mainstage lies another stage, one very reminiscent of what the Globe Theatre’s looks like in England. The costumes are not elaborate nor are the staging or other special effects. The troupe allows the actors and Shakespeare’s prose to be the stars, as oppose to letting special effects and gimmicks hog the spotlight.

And that is a smart decision. By stripping Hamlet to its bare essentials, the audience gets to better understand why this work is so terribly popular amongst the theatre and literary communities. It’s hauntingly existential, hypnotically magical theatre. This is what all theatre strives for. And what Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre has so convincingly achieved.

Upcoming Showdates:

Tuesday October 16 – 7:30pm

Wednesday October 17 – 2:00pm

Wednesday October 17 – 7:30pm

Thursday October 18 – 7:30pm

Friday October 19 – 8:00pm

Saturday October 20 – 2:00pm

Saturday October 20 – 8:00pm

Sunday October 21 – 2:00pm

For more information and to buy tickets please visit:

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