Hamlet + Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
Until Sun Jun 30 2013
Photograph: Michael Lamont
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
Time Out says
Posted: Tue May 28 2013
The Seeing Place presents a double bill in rep—with the same cast—of Shakespeare's tragedy of ratiocination and Tom Stoppard's cheeky sidelong glance at it. Click here for more info.
Average User Rating
4.9 / 5
- 5 star:22
- 4 star:3
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:0
Ok, here's the deal...I am not a fan of Shakespeare. Repeat...I'm not a fan. Much to my surprise, I became one on Saturday night. For the first time in more years than I can remember, I truly enjoyed watching a Shakespearean production. The Seeing Place's rendition of Hamlet was moving, truthful, powerful, and provoking. I am so in awe of what I had the honor to witness. This company and their pool of talent need to be recognized and respected. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead was also top notch in every possible way. I was thrilled and uplifted coming out of the venue at the end of the day after enjoying such stellar performances. I can't wait to see more good stuff coming from these folks. Brava, bravo, and kudos to all who were involved!
Having seen Hamlet last week I must say I was overjoyed and impressed with this wonderful production. The cast, beginning with the ever talented Brandon Walker, were tremendous. I have seen many productions of Hamlet and must honestly say this falls at the top of my list. This company deserves serious attention. Moving forward I hope to continue to see more excellent and realized plays from them. I also saw R & G for the second time on closing day. Tremendous!!! Lakin and King, as well as the entire cast, were simply amazing. What a talented group of actors Mr. Walker and Ms. Cronican have put together. Bravo to all!!!!!
Wow. I am SO grateful that I got to see HAMLET on 6/27. It was just incredible. I have never seen Shakespeare this well-done. It was so natural, exciting, emotional, and I was in awe of the acting. The use of space and the set design was also wonderful and supported the story perfectly. It was creative and organic and I felt like I was watching the actors perform this for the first time although it was toward the end of their run. They were fully committed and I couldn't be more impressed with Brandon Walker as Hamlet. I truly cannot wait to see more of their work in the future. When you see theater done well with such commitment - it restores your faith in the arts and lifts your heart.
HAMLET was very creative and enjoyable EXCEPT for the painfully loud gunshot with which Polonius was dispatched. Watch your ears! I wish the group had stuck to the text that specifically states rapier! However, if you're expecting the flip side Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead to be closely related, you will be disappointed. Same cast, directors, scenery, but totally different. This production was the glummest comedy I've ever seen--and R+G has been a favorite play of mine since childhood. No one laughed.
I enjoyed this production of Hamlet so much, I went to see it twice. Terrific insightful performance by the entire cast. Heard new meanings in words I've listened to many times before (this was probably my 20th Hamlet -- first was Richard Burton, when I was eleven). The second time I took two teens, who loved it too. Staging is simple but evocative; with a modern slant, for sure, but true to the meaning of the text, with some very interesting juxtapositions. Well worth seeing! The intimate space only enhances the experience.
Saw R&G yesterday, great play, well acted, can't beat the price. Worth seeing before it closes--terrific idea to stagger it with Hamlet and the same cast!
I thing we've all been exposed to Hamlet in a high school English class or perhaps through one of the Hollywood productions that have been made over the years, but seeing it acted out on stage brings the play to life in a way that nothing else can. The Seeing Place production is well-staged and well-acted, with Brandon Walker (Hamlet) and Erin Cronican (Ophelia) turning in particularly fine performances. At 3 hours and 15 minutes, Hamlet is not a short play, but you won't be tempted to glance at your watch during the show.
Having seen many tortured productions of Shakespeare in my lifetime it was a pleasure to be back in NYC this weekend seeing the Bard done justice. I had the pleasure of taking in both productions this past Saturday night and each was worth far more than the paltry $12 cost of admission. The Theatre is on West 54 Street in a small space on the fourth floor of a building adjacent to a police station. It is not the easiest location to find (I'd been there before) so allow yourself a couple of extra minutes to get there. The small space ad limited trappings in it allowed for the most intimate performance of Hamlet I have ever experienced. The pacing was quick where it needed to be, yet delicate when the emotion of the scene called for it. The mode of dress placed it in more modern times but the troupe did not feel the need to fix it at a certain period or place to pursue their own agenda. This was Shakespeare's Hamlet and for a change, more of it, not less. Be prepared to enjoy a virtually uncut version of the Bard's masterpiece. The troupe thankfully restored some scenes I don't believe I've ever seen performed before. It was enlightening. The other production being performed by the talented troupe is Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead". I must admit this has always been a favorite of mine, but what a treat to see it performed with the play that inspired it, with the same cast, in the same theatre. All I can say is, Bravo! I've always seen the play as Stoppard's version of "Waiting for Godot". For those not aware of its premise, the main characters are the titular Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, somewhat minor players in Shakespeare's epic. The play might be viewed as just the backstage antics and musings of these characters, except in the hands of another consummate wordsmith like Stoppard, nothing is as it seems. We observe the two travelling to Elsinore, waiting for their audience with the royals (including Hamlet) and then essentially awaiting their own demise. (No spoiler here, title does clue you in) Along the way we are treated to snippets of the actual Hamlet which are the only clues to a forward trajectory the play offers. But as in Godot, the characters have no control over the course that has been set for them. Call it fate, call it destiny, or just recognize it for what it is, that sometimes we are just cogs in the machine, Both shows are in their final week, catch one or the other, both if you can, and help support the endeavors of this intrepid group.
I went to both plays, and I'm very glad I did. Started with Hamlet, of course, and it was passionate, vibrant, well-paced and surprisingly touching. I cried at the end, and I never cry at the end of Hamlet. I think it was partly the acting and partly the intimacy of the theater. It's a small space, so the impact seemed greater. The set is sparse but beautifully done. All around I very much enjoyed the evening. The next day I saw Rosencrantz & Guilenstern are Dead. I'm not a huge fan of absurdist theater, but I wanted to see what they did with it. It was amazing. They brought it to life and made it seem like I was watching people, not stilted, dated "literature" being recited (which I have seen happen far too many times). I laughed out loud more than I ever have at this comedy. This was more impressive than the Hamlet only because I didn't expect to love it. And I did. Having the actors play the same characters in both plays brought a richness and depth to the R&G. And it highlighted the versatility of a very talented group of players. I'm very much looking forward to their next season. So, in a nutshell: go. You will very much enjoy it.
This isn't your father's Hamlet and certainly not Mel Gibson's. This is a Hamlet that frankly not many f us have seen. Because the good folks at The Seeing Place Theater have done their research about Shakespeare and they have given us a wonderful version. They have modernized it but themes remain true. They aren't a distraction, at least not for me. The acting is also top notch. I am an actor from Seattle and while in town I wanted to check out independent theater in NYC and I was surprised by the lack of these theater companies. They are very vital to the life blood of theater and I am grateful for The Seeing Place Theater who make theater not only enjoyable, thought provoking and visceral but also very affordable. I mean $12. How great is that. Show them some love and check out Hamlet or Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, as they are doing them i n tandem all with the same actors. That's a challenge and they are more than up to it.
My family went to both plays and really loved them. I really thought Hamlet was extraordinary; every role seemed fully developed. The staging and direction were excellent and really make the play have a very human scale. R+G is obviously a very different play, and a totally different part of the cast takes the forefront. Both the title characters and the tragedians are well played and the direction takes advantage of the intimacy of the space and simple staging. The space is just one of those amazing NYC things, where who would have guessed that there would be a theatre on the 4th floor. It was so amazing to see this cast in such an intimate space. Not to mention to get to chat with them before and after the performance. $48*2 for a family of four tops this off as a great way to spend two evenings.
I was absolutely delighted by this Hamlet - though some actors "honor the verse" more than others, the varying approaches didn't bother me in the least, because the storytelling here is clear, and exciting, and fun. If you've never seen Hamlet this is an excellent place to begin, because you will be able to follow the plot very easily. . . and if you know the play extremely well you will be surprised and pleased by some of the choices. It's compelling theatre no matter what your background. I highly recommend it. Great job, Seeing Place!
I absolutely loved both plays. Not only are the performers excellent, they also pull it off with a minimal set and simple costumes, which made it even better. I had never seen Hamlet on stage before and I must say I was very impressed, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I was very glad I finally got to see it. Rosencratz and Guildenstern are dead is a very funny play and it's especially interesting to see the same cast switching to comedic roles and to have the focus shifted to two actors that did not have very fleshed-out roles in Hamlet. I found it a bit hard to find the theater itself at first because the number is not on the building, but that's the only issue I had.
If you can attend a talk back night- do it. The theatre space itself is nothing but unexpected. Attached to the 18th Precinct/ Midtown North, the steps from the hallway to the theatre lobby are eerie, one space could not be more different than the last. The set is minimal but serves every scene incredibly well. Hamlet's brilliance capped in madness is profound and watching things go awry as Hamlet schemes, particularly the unexpected effects his actions have on Ophelia is captivating. This Hamlet does not simply serve sympathy for Hamlet. You see Hamlet's actions impact the juxtaposed family very strongly. The cast builds as show that leads Laertes' anger, pain, and plans for revenge to be justified. This Hamlet is in modern dress and delivered in a relatable, approachable way. There is humor, the cast is very engaged in the world they have built. Be wary not to sit too close to the air conditioner because it can be loud. Thank you Seeing Place Theatre for affordable accessible theatre.
Like most people, I have seen a lot of Shakespeare and I've often had to fake my appreciation for it beyond the sets and costumes--until I began experiencing it at The Seeing Place. The acting is organic and the delivery of the stories is much more relatable than in most productions. This company makes difficult material enjoyable and touching. I don't think I've ever felt a tear roll down my face in HAMLET, until last night. For the first time, I really got his struggle without it being commanded loudly or with force. Brandon Walker gently brought me into Hamlet's crazy world. I was seduced by Jason Wilson's charismatic Claudius. I felt Gertrude's naivete and shame through Janice Hall, and I identified with Erin Cronican's Ophelia too much. I could go on. The entire cast was enjoyable and engaging, delivering far more than I expected. This company gets better all of the time. I am glad others are finally learning this, too! :)
A brilliant, understated production of "Hamlet" - emotional without being melodramatic. This was the first stage production I had seen, and has set the standard (at least for me) on how this play is to be presented. I've written a more in depth thoughts on this production here: http://wp.me/p2vxal-5D
I spent a beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon in the audience watching Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. I must say it was well worth it, and I am planning a return trip from Connecticut to see Hamlet (the other "half" of the pair) this week. Can't wait to see the cast again. It was a great production and I enjoyed it so much! Thank you Seeing Place Theater, Cast and Crew!
I have a Master's Degree in theatre and spent a great deal of time studying Shakespearean acting in graduate school. I have seen "Hamlet" numerous times and I must say this is the best staging of it I have ever seen. The acting was fantastic, the design work incredible and the directing spot on. It was clever, engrossing and it really drew you in. I highly recommend this production!