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Faced with a rotten, superficial and shrill culture, "Hamlet" demands that we make an effort - voila! culture


The revival of the Shakespearean classic at the Beit Lysin Theater is bursting with ideas, based on a spectacular translation and never boring for a moment during three long hours | Review

An excerpt from the play "Hamlet" by the Beit Lisin Theater, which was performed in October 2022 (Reddy Rubinstein, courtesy of the Beit Lisin Theater by Baruch Ivcher)

"Hamlet" by William Shakespeare, presented at the Beit Lisin Theater directed by Yair Sherman, is a long play.

Three hours or so, which has a lot of text and intrigue and pretense.

But in the days and weeks after the show I saw, I mainly think about one image from it, which I can't get out of my head.

This is the end picture.

In this scene - "Hamlet" is already more than 400 years old, so forgive me, I allow myself to tweet about the spoiler police - the duel between Hamlet, the unfortunate hero of the play, and Laertes, who is determined to avenge the death of his sister Ophelia, whose name is in doubt, takes place Her life ended following a tragic chain of events that included the murder of her father and an exchange of harsh words with Hamlet, who was courting her.

It is not an innocent duel, but the deadly traps planted in it against Hamlet turn against their creators, and almost no one escapes death.

Not Laertes, not Queen Mother Gertrude, and not even the recluse King Claudius, who was murdered by the dying Hamlet himself.

Like a Tarantino movie.

It is a violent image of total destruction that no one is able to stop, but also, on the brink of death, of the removal of masks and disguises.

Once the dice started rolling, was it possible to stop this train, or was it inevitable?

Does the kingdom of Denmark, once it has rotted, have no choice but to collapse in on itself?

And how terrible is this moment, when all the hidden and internalized violence bursts out.

And maybe this is the big message?

Remember that the potential for violence may always materialize in the most horrific way?

From "Hamlet" (Photo: Isaiah Feinberg)

But let's put aside for a moment all the death, murder and revenge for the sake of the general picture: the new production of "Hamlet" is first of all excellent news for the Israeli theater.

Not because we need more Hamlet or more Shakespeare, but because we lack plays that require effort from us.

And this is a demanding production: it is quite long;

Bursting with original ideas;

Some are good and some are bad;

She speaks a sophisticated language.

The viewers have to be focused and curious to swim in it.

It's a profitable deal - "Hamlet" is a wonderful experience, which is recommended to anyone who loves theater.

In the impatient culture of thrills in which we live, turning such a production into an event is almost brazen provocation.

In other words: even if something is rotten in the Kingdom of Denmark, something good is happening in Beit Lysin.

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"Hamlet" is a show that is everything: a political drama, a family telenovela, a comedy of errors and even an internal satire on the theater world.

We will mention the main things.

The hero - played convincingly by the young Asaf Yunesh ("Who Heard of Eve and Nava") - is the prince of Denmark, mourning his father (the wonderful Eli Gorenstein) and angry at his mother (Shiri Golan), who did not wait long after her husband's death and married his brother Claudius ( Rami Hoiberger).

An encounter with his father's dead spirit raises in him the suspicion that Claudius murdered him, and from here begins a tract of mutual conspiracies, pretense and hand bending, in which the unborn relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia (Carmel Bean in a heartbreaking performance), the daughter of one of The yard - a matter that ends in tragic and toxic circumstances.

At some point, his childhood friends, Ronzcrantz and Guildenstern, are also recruited into the campaign against Hamlet, whose fate is not much better.

The end of the story is the collapse of the entire royal house.

This chain of tragedies, brought to the audience in the fluent translation of Dori Farnes (a tremendous achievement in itself), takes place in both past and present time.

The royal court seems to belong to an ancient monarch's past, with all the costumes and mannerisms, but the plot progresses through video cameras, for example.

In general, modernity is put on the Danish court, and in several layers - whether directly, through the presence of electronics, headphones, a condom or a section of poems by Eyal Golan and Joe Amar - or even the re-creation of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as fringe boys from Cats Square - or whether Covertly, in the layer that occurs among us viewers, as those who see the poor and rather limited place of the female characters in the play and the sad attitude of the men towards them.

The mismatch between the times deliberately stings the viewers, reminds them that they are watching a play and tries to bring the plot as close as possible to contemporary human behavior.

From "Hamlet" (Photo: Isaiah Feinberg)

There are many surprises on stage, so you never get bored for a moment in this very long show.

However, the other side of the coin is that some of these ideas are oppressive to the point of puzzling.

At one point "Hamlet" leaves the stage and wanders the theater corridors as things are broadcast to us on the screen, without any real justification.

Likewise for some reason there are characters designed as construction workers for no apparent logical reason.

Thus, some of the modern nods and quotations inserted into the show - Eyal Golan's song for example - can be placed in a certain internal logic, a clever nod to the struggles of the elites in Israel, but such a reading is crudely glued to the original text in an unconvincing way, and its reward is lost.

In "Hamlet" the text is the real king, and countless pointed lines are spoken one after the other at breakneck speed.

It's spectacular at times, but takes a certain toll on the game, which in some cases seems almost technical and not convincing enough.

Not all the staff can see the range of emotions and meanings of the things that come out of the mouths of the characters they play.

The standouts are the two young actors: Yoness as the tormented hero, and Ophelia as the object of his unhappy courtship.

Yunesh is endowed with significant charisma, and successfully entered the character of the prince with the bitter and stormy humor;

Whereas Bean, who is known to the public as one of the stars of "The Commander", breaks the heart when her character goes crazy.

Ophelia's role in the play is not very big - today it must have been different - but Bean takes with both hands the lines she gets, which include, among other things, a scene where she sings/screams her madness.

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From "Hamlet" (Photo: Isaiah Feinberg)

And there is one more thing worth mentioning - Hamlet's meeting with the wandering troupe of actors who have descended from their greatness and arrive at the castle.

At first, Hamlet discusses her with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

The decline of the band, explains Rosenkranz, is connected to the rise of a new type of group of players.

"There is, sir, a group of children, chicks who scream louder on every subject and matter and receive tremendous applause for it. These are the latest fashion, and they shake up what they call the 'acceptable stages,'" says Rosencrantz, and along the way breaks the wall again with A joke about Lisin's house.

Regardless of the inner laughter, the encounter with the play within the play is a sad allegory for the state of culture in Israel.

Not the age differences, but the screaming and vulgarity that take over every part is good and gets applause.

Beit Lysin's "Hamlet" is not a show without problems, but in its ambitious staging it challenges the hollow entertainment around it.

And in the current cultural climate, that's a big deal.

  • culture

  • in what

  • theater


  • Hamlet

  • Asaf Yunesh

  • Beit Lisin Theater

Source: walla

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