augury doggerel

Thursday, August 05, 2004

The Merry Conceited Humours of Bottom the Weaver

I leave work early to see Hamlet, the only English-language Shakespeare production this season in this province. I discover that it's "adapted from William Shakespeare" by a tiny Californian company. One act, seventy minutes, four actors and a one-man band. Is there a station wagon in the lot with California plates?

Ophelia, who is also Gertrude and a fantastic writher, lies on her side and runs round herself like Iggy or Curly. Claudius is also ghost and gravedigger and mugger. Laertes, who is also Polonius and gravedigger, seems to cry real tears for us, but also sweats a long wide stripe in the crack of his pants that competes with his face for attention. Hamlet also plays the lion, but as gently as any sucking dove. "Duty" sounds a bit like "doody," and there is much slashing about with box-cutters.

But four encores and a basket of bouquets--Polish audiences are friendly and old-fashioned. Nothing ends without at least four encores and an armload of flowers--and then a coffee in the cool. This is the best place to be this evening.


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