Hamlet at the Blackfriars Theater

Yesterday, I went with a group from my college to the only true-to-life re-creation of the Blackfriars theater in the world. Blackfriars was the more exclusive venue where Shakespeare and his troupe staged their productions.

We had a tour of the location. Lunch at a pizza joint. A production of Hamlet–with a truly mad Hamlet. Finally a conversation with the staff. All in all a great experience.

People did keep mistaking me for one of the students, not one of the faculty. P says I need to dress more like a faculty member, but I’m not wearing a suit on the bus! However, I guess I could have worn my Sargent Pepper’s looking blazer. I’m going to wear it soon. Wearing clothes outside one’s comfort zone is a challenge because until you get used to it, you don’t feel much like yourself…

Anyway, back to the show. The theater was cool. http://www.americanshakespearecenter.com/ The company performs the play with the lights in the theater on. There are folks who sit on the “gallants stools” which are actually on the stage. The philosophy of the company is to get as close to Shakespeare’s staging conditions as possible. There are two versions of Hamlet that are pretty significantly different, so at this theater they flip a coin at the beginning of the performance to see if they are going to perform the Quarto version or the First Folio version. (The scenes are in a different order in them)

I always enjoy seeing Shakespeare performed, and while I admit that Hamlet’s not my favorite play by a long shot, it was an excellent production.


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