Review: Neither Mad Nor Sad

This weekend I went to the Rude Mechanicals’ production of Hamlet at the Mendelssohn Theater. I love seeing Shakespeare performed live. It gets so much funnier and more emotional. Reading his plays, I always get lost. All the names are similar and there are no faces to match them to. But on stage! Everything comes to life. Every character has wit and style. Even the words seem clearer. I just love it. Last year I saw the Shakespeare Globe Theater here at UofM and couldn’t stop smiling through the whole thing.

Another thing I like about seeing Shakespeare is seeing what the director added. In this version of Hamlet, there was supposed to be a Mad Men theme, and there was, sort of. I feel like it only went into the costumes. Different themes and settings are often added to these plays. For example (though I use it only because it is more accessible than live shows), the Leo DiCaprio version of Romeo and Juliet uses Shakespeare’s words, but in a modern day setting and adding countless technologies to the plot. A long sword becomes a gun (with the brand name Long Sword), a carriage becomes a car, and many lines in the play correspond to the theme. In this aspect, this play didn’t utilize the theme. There was really only one example of it, besides the costumes, which was the use of a condom for a joke. But that’s really all beside the point anyway.

The play was well acted and produced. I think the casting choice for Hamlet was perfect. He was, firstly a great actor and speaker, and secondly he understood what to do with the character. How to make him mad with grief in just the right way. I was a little disappointed in the overall play though. The plot of Hamlet is well known, so I won’t explain it, but we all know it is a tragedy. And though Shakespeare does add a lot of comedy to his tragedies, he does it tastefully and sparingly. This show took comedy to a whole new level. Although it was funny, it took a lot away from the character development and the depth of the play. When Hamlet bests Laertes and accidently kills him, he should not victoriously get on top of him and starting beating him with fists. It’s very comedic, and since it is the most tragic scene in the play… it was strange.

Overall though, I really enjoyed it. I would definitely recommend seeing it. It’s great to see these students working so hard to put together something like this. And it gives them a great opportunity, one that I truly miss, of being on stage. I know that these actors absolutely loved the drama that the play allowed them to create. There is one more show, and it is today at 2pm. So Sunday, 06 November 2011 at 2pm. Only $3 for students!

Sending you love and light (and luck for the piles of homework we all have),

Danny Fob

Danny Fob

I'm a Junior in LSA majoring in Italian and minoring in Art History. I love writing for art[seen] because it gives me the opportunity to show all of these amazing shows that the University brings to Ann Arbor. We get some world class performers and I would be really bummed if I missed out on anything that I'll never have to opportunity to see again. What you need to know about me? I'm not a writer, an art expert, and I didn't grow up around this much culture. I am a busy student at UofM, so if you are judging me for something, it's okay because I won't have time to respond. I'll just keep seeing shows and you can be jealous!