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A translation of Hamlet into the aphasiac intensity of grief, love, revenge and madness. For two women and a violin.
A translation of Hamlet into the aphasiac intensity of grief, love, revenge and madness. For two women and a violin.
104 backers pledged $13,000 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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THROES THEATER IS EXCITED TO PRESENT:

ACT BEFORE YOU SPEAK

THE TRAGICAL HISTORY OF HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK

AT THE FLEA THEATER, AUGUST 3 - 27

Starring: Marie Godeau, Alexandra Zelman-Doring and Kara Eubanks       Produced, Designed, and Built by Jeffrey Landman                                          Directed by Hedvig Claesson

"It is a journey through life’s emotions, from madness to revenge, from suffering to the beauty and scent of a lavender bouquet. The actors go through what could nearly be seen as immolation, a religious act towards the audience, each movement is as precise and meaningful as the lifting of a finger from an Indian traditional dancer” --Fiamma Mazzocchi Alemanni, The Cherwell

ABOUT THE PLAY:

There are two women and a violinist on stage. They are friends or lovers, children or parents. They are bemused and viscous, vexed and fervid. They are Hamlet, Guildenstern, Ophelia and Gertrude. They are ghosts and gravediggers. Their actions speak their thoughts; their speech is sublimated into presence and response. 

Hamlet is a play about words: we may not remember the events of the play but "To be or not to be" is burned into our collective consciousness. So are the other speeches: "What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba?" "Seems madam, nay it is, I know not seems". Shakespeare's words resound with infinite variety. And yet, so often we cannot hear these speeches – so often they grow stale. 

To understand a work of art is not to say what it means but to feel what it does in you. This is why we perform Hamlet without speaking a word. Come listen to our play and you will hear a resonant humanity that is forever evolving. You'll also laugh a lot!

The silence carried out in this production responds to the years of silence when women were not permitted on the restoration stage. The presence of the female in the male’s role exposes artifice, as did the presence of the male in the female’s role in Shakespeare’s time. "Act Before You Speak" allows laughter, tears, sighs, and music to speak freshly, forging a sacred intimacy between actor and audience. 

WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP:

This will be our first full run in the United States! We're incredibly excited to be going up at The Flea, which is a great venue for contemporary classical music as well as a renowned theater. But we're new on the scene and just finding our feet. We've raised enough money so far to cover the theater rental for four weeks. The money we're hoping to raise through your kind donations will pay for the director, crew, set design and construction, lighting rental, transportation, and everything else that makes a show so complicated and expensive to put up. Please help us however you can at this critical beginning moment!

ABOUT THE SCORE & THE SET:

Original music for violin has been composed by two renowned contemporary composers, Jiri Kaderabek and Mahir Cetiz. Their music gives a voice to the violin, which speaks from the beyond, sometimes as the ghost of Hamlet's father, sometimes in other guise. Kaderabek's "Ghost Theme" (which you can hear in the video below) uses live feedback technology to layer and loop the violin, weaving a complex of thought and mood.

The articulate set is being designed by sculptor Jeffrey Landman in collaboration with the actors. The elements are constructed to participate actively throughout the rehearsal process. The table of cast wax, for instance, bears, like Hamlet's "tables of memory", the action of the performers. 

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR:

Hedvig Claesson was born in Stockholm in 1973. She has directed at Stockholm Stadsteater (the City Theatre in Stockholm), Riksteatern (the National Touring Theatre), Strindbergs Intimate Theatre, and with various free groups in Stockholm. Claesson has also worked as an assistant director and dramatist and done video-work for the Swedish Television, Stockholm Stadsteater, Dramaten (The Royal Dramatic Theatre), Riksteatern and Oscar Theatre. She has worked with Frank Castorf, Robert Wilson, Egill Pallson, Thommy Berggren, and Lars Norén. Recent work includes The Creditors by August Strindberg, for Fiber Optic Valley, Riksteatern and Digital Tools, 2011 with: Sofia Andersson, Peter Järn and Patrik Wiberg; Medea, an opera by Luigi Cherubini, at The Operastudio, 2011 with: Lisa Thor, Sanna Gibbs and Thomas Lander; The Widows by Joyce Carol Oates at the Strindberg Intimate Theatre, 2010 (world-premiere) with: Cecilia Nilsson and Bo Corre; and Request Programme at The Edinburgh Fringe, in collaboration with Siris Original Theatre, The Arts Foundation and Pleasance Theatre at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, 2011 with: Cecilia Nilsson.

ABOUT THROES THEATER:

Even before we met some thing began among us. And it was relentless. Over the last five years this momentum has discovered to us a sustenance of plays, poems, and performances. In the last year the company officially formed. We are for the continuance of whatever this dedication and passion will show us next. As our name suggests we aim to bring about, through risk, great beauty. To bring into being works of art that, given as a gift, touch to the quick; works that catch the breath in the chest as they confront our collective dread. 

Our first play, To Hold an Apple, was selected by Christopher Hampton to be performed at Oxford University's New Writing Festival. We then took it to 59 East 59th’s ‘East to Edinburgh’ festival, before a full run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Our second play, Act Before You Speak first showed in Oxford at the Burton Taylor Studio, and will run for three weeks at The Flea Theater in New York this August.

ABOUT ONE OF OUR REWARDS:

These epistolary poems - exchanged in one turn of winter to summer - are nothing more than letters in verse. We did not propose a theme for this communication, nor did we set ourselves any restrictions, save one: Let's write to each other. Tell me everything, we said, in verse. An edition of 200 books has been hand-printed and bound at EM Letterpress by Jeffrey Landman. An additional 25 copies will be bound in hard-backed cloth covers and will come with an original poem. All copies are signed and numbered. 

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Make a respectful donation for part of the set!
    Want a carved bone spoon?
    A study for the wall hanging?
    The model of the set for your bookshelf?
    Check out the updates page or send us an email for pictures!

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    We will send you an mp3 of the Folk Theme, one of Jiri Kaderabek's original compositions for the score, as heard in our trailer.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    A ticket to the show or - A limited edition, handprinted letterpress poster for Act Before You Speak

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    1 of 200 copies of Alone I Am Afraid: Letters in Verse. Printed and bound by hand by Jeff Landman at EM Letterpress in New Bedford.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    An mp3 of Folk Theme, by Jiri Kaderabek...plus:
    A limited edition, handprinted letterpress poster for Act Before You Speak....plus: 1 of 200 copies of Alone I Am Afraid: Letters in Verse. Printed and bound by hand at EM Letterpress in New Bedford.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    A framed, handwritten copy of a translation of Pasternak's poem "Hamlet," in English or French, or your choice of comminsion, by Alexandra Zelman-Doring or Jeff Landman, or both. Or, a hand developed photograph of theater life by Marie Godeau.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    1 of 25 very fine copies of Alone I am Afraid: Letters in Verse. Hand printed and bound in hard backed cloth covers, with an original poem signed by both authors. Plus, a ticket to the show.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Four tickets to the performance, then come backstage, and go out with us for drinks accross the street from the Flea Theater at Petrarca Cucina E Vino. Plus, a very prominent thanks in the program.

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Funding period

- (30 days)