Friday, February 10, 2012

To Be . . . Or Not

Experience is not what happens to a  man. It is what a man does with what happens to him.
--Aldous Huxley

We attended the first public performance of Shakespeare's Hamlet, last night, at our local theater, Stage 3. It was such a fine production that I'm still sorting through all the things I loved about it: excellent performances,  edgy set, sound and costumes, and thought-provoking uses of stop-action and of multiple appearances by the same actors in different characters. Bringing the play forward in time through modern dress and a kind of Road Warrior set, we are invited to see how the troubled Dane's dilemma parallels our own. Hamlet used to annoy me with his indecisiveness. This production has made me see that our culture is afflicted with this very inability to plunge into the action that cleanses blight from the land. It's still annoying -- but I can no longer project this annoyance onto Hamlet. This production invites every viewer to investigate the roots of indecision and lack of action, and ask which is nobler: to be . . . or not.

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