Friday, August 19, 2016

'Hamlet | Collage'



I was a tad reluctant to sit through Canadian director Robert Lepage's collaboration with Russia's Theatre of Nations', starring Evgeny Mironov- 'Hamlet | Collage'. The director has done something like that, a one-man Hamlet show with multimedia technology two decades ago with 'Elsinore' that was kinda deemed as a flop. Of course this is a brand new production, and definitely improved tremendously in terms of technology utilized. I was persuaded to give this non-traditional one-actor imagistic performance a go; thankfully there were last minute tickets available.

The 2.5-hour opening show at SIFA 2016 was a visual treat. Aided by an intricately designed suspended cube by Carl Fillion, Evgeny Mironov deftly took on multiple heavy roles and morphed into Hamlet, King Hamlet the Ghost, Claudius, Gertrude, Laertes, Polonius and even Ophelia. 11 characters in total. The clever adaptable and reversible costumes are designed by Francois St-Aubin.

This cube seems to exist in Hamlet's schizophrenic mind. As the play progresses, the cube changed along with the characters, costumes and wigs. We watched him sink deeper into his madness. And somehow, the cube has expanded to encompass the audience within it. The three-sided cube moves and takes on the projected scene changes with ease. At the end of the performance, it was awesome to see all production engineers come out at curtain call. As good as the actor is, this show wouldn't have been possible without the superb coordination of the technical crew.

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