James McGrath's Hamlet
James McGrath's Hamlet
What an ass am I! That I, the son of a dear father murdered, prompted to revenge by heaven and hell, must unpack my heart with words!
What an ass am I! That I, the son of a dear father murdered, prompted to revenge by heaven and hell, must unpack my heart with words! Read more
About this project
A number of years ago I was roaming the Lower East Side of Manhattan--way low, like almost to Chinatown. I think it was a Saturday afternoon. I stumbled upon a production of Henry IV Part 1 being performed in a park. Pedestrians were sparse and the audience was intimate. The costumes were makeshift and bedraggled, but the performance was thrilling. It was so un Shakespearean that the characters seemed like real people. The play had been stripped of its poetry and performed as 100% drama. I was attending Tisch School of the Arts at the time, and though I enjoyed the play I didn't give it more attention than that: I was involved in film and was going to direct movies. I attempted to get to directing via screenwriting (a very legitimate strategy in the game,) but got bogged down in poor choice of material and life in general. After the big bog down I wanted to shake off the detritus and head back in via another route, but as I found myself living in rural Indiana, there was not much going on in Film. So I became involved in theatre via the Jackson County Community Theatre. My interest in Shakespeare hadn't waned over the interim: actually it blossomed. It was natural, then, after a few seasons of being involved as an actor to direct Shakespeare. JCCT's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in April of 2011 was a local success: the play swept the local "Jackie" Awards and for the first time in many, many years all awards were captured by one play, A Midsummer Night's Dream. The local reviewer wrote "the Shakespearean language may turn away some individuals, but the actors speak smoothly and effortlessly. They accentuate well, emphasizing the correct words and making the language seem natural." I must state here that I have a distaste for the way Shakespeare is performed today. In the program notes I wrote that "I love reading poetry but hate hearing it read." I've often wondered why the most exciting dramatist in the world was also often a boring night at the theatre. The answer I was working with was that it was mainly because it was so hard to follow and understand the dense language the way it is usually performed: as blank verse, or, poetry. I am in the process of developing a way of performing Shakespeare that deversifies or de-poeticizes the text, rendering it much easier to follow and understand without compromising the words in the slightest degree. If you decide to attend my production of Hamlet BEWARE! you may actually understand what's going on and being said!
In addition to the work on delivering the text there are some other features of my production that may interest even seasoned Shakespeare lovers such as soliliquys turned on the audience, the Tragedians of the City swapped for an "eyrie of eyases"(troupe of child actors,) the excision of Claudius' confession (it belongs in Macbeth!) and the final dual over Ophelia's grave. I promise an intellectually stimulating evening and an exciting night!
I apologize for not being a Facebooker, but I promise I am a real person and that we will be at the Royal Off-the-Square Theatre in Brownstown, Indiana on October 12, 13, 19 & 20 performing Hamlet. For verification that the theatre is booked for this production you may contact the Jackson County Community Theatre via their website at www.JCCT.org.
$2,500 is a minimal budget for producing this play and should the minimum only be pledged James McGrath will guarantee completion of the production. All funds pledged will be used for the production of Hamlet, with any residual amount left over going to JCCT. Full disclosure of how funds were spent will be made to the Executive Producers.
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