It is said that Hamlet is a play that most encapsulates the existential dilemma of the 20th century. In behaviour veering between levity and solemnity; savagery and courtesy; irony and pathos; Hamlet reveals to us, in a series of images, the hysteria of his emotions. In this unsettled world the Chorus as conduits to the other characters in Hamlet's dream/nightmare flesh out the narrative.
After learning the terrible secret contained in the Ghost's utterances and with exhortations to revenge seared into his memory Hamlet struggles with his own overwhelming inaction. Whether Hamlet is mad or not is irrelevant, but his despair is genuine and believable. Hamlet constantly questions life itself and its relevance. It is this behaviour, with its seesawing emotions and changes of heart that dominate this series of scenes and vignettes that comprise this new look at Hamlet. Hamlet questions everyone that he encounters like an interrogator, those he does not question he accuses, those he does not accuse he welcomes, full of contradictions.
Hamlet is placed at the centre of the maelstrom and Ophelia, Gertrude, Claudius and all the other players circle around him. As Hamlet floats on the waves they swim within them. Hamlet is elevated from the other players and deals with the world from his aerie, disconnected and disaffected. The song 'Paranoid' outlines Hamlet's interior state and all the music, chosen from the late 60's provides a sound bridge into the psyche of the historical Prince who could not make up his mind.
"Reaching beyond the boundaries of accepted rubrics of dance or plays, Heavy Metal Hamlet is capped by a careful choice of text distilled form Shakespeare's drama and Carroll's choreography. It's patterns of stiff movement, delivered with increasing fluidity by Frank players, resonate with an unearthly otherness. [As musical director] Guy Webster has created a thoughtful marriage of Nobbs's brilliant vision linking Hamlet's predicament with reflections from Black Sabbath." - The Courier Mail 1998
"…Forget that four hour long film version, this production of Hamlet is brilliantly executed, collaborated with the highest wit…A well choreographed, well thought out play that provides clever new insights into the characters…The scenes are alternately fantastic and simple giving the audience a more emphatic narrative to accompany Shakespeare's heavy dialogue." - Time Off Magazine 1998
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