And so it has always been. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
As for me…well, maybe when one has sat down to as many versions of this play as I have, one’s perspective needs must acquire more than one’s usual allotment of flexibility. All I know is, where I sit, there seldom seems anything “new under the sun” to be had from this or that Elsinore, and all I ask anymore of a production, whether “traditional” or “high concept”, is that it display dramatic energy and a coherent vision. For me this production had both in spades…plus a few eye-popping never-seen-that-before-but-where-have-you-been-all-my-life surprises that made this jaded Hamleteer sit up and take notice.
For that reason—before I chat about some of these very cool innovations — oh that word — I’d like to take this opportunity to issue a major SPOILER ALERT. If you haven’t seen the production yet this season and are intending to, which I strongly urge you to do, stop reading and come back here afterward. There are goodies in this 2010 OSF Hamlet that are way too much fun to have spoiled by prior information.
Stay tuned. Next time, part two: The Play-before-the-Play