Sunday, August 10, 2003

Closing the Fringe with Mom - Part 2

One Man Hamlet
Bryant Lake Bowl

Mom says, "I'm exhausted just watching him do all that."

Indeed, no doubt the man collapses entirely after the show is over. And a well-earned collapse it is. Just getting through a condensed Hamlet in an hour and a half all by oneself would certainly be feat enough to warrant applause. But Clayton Jevne does something more. He makes it, dare I say, fun to watch. I'm sure some purists might be appalled at the cast of characters in Hamlet being approximated by a series of balloons of various colors wearing hats attached to music stands. Jevne's love of the text, and of performing it, is clear. Only someone who knows and respects the text so well could wring from it all the humor that he does, while still not losing the sense of it. Turning the "to be or not to be" soliloquy over to the audience to perform in order to give him a break was a fun bit of audience participation. Certainly watching the balloons pop one by one as the body count of the play rises was a hoot. Revisiting the text in this fashion actually makes me appreciate Shakespeare's play more, not less. Far from mocking the play, it is an homage of the best kind, bringing audiences to a new understanding and closer relationship to the story. Good night, sweet Prince. And bravo, Mr. Jevne.

No comments: