Hamlet (Waterwell) OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Eric Michael Pearson
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    May 21, 2017
    Closing:
    June 3, 2017

    Theater: The Sheen Center / 18 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10012

    Synopsis: 

    In this climate, it is urgent to create art that asserts community, cross-cultural communication common humanity. To that end, Waterwell is setting its production of Hamlet 100 years ago in what was then Persia (now Iran) on the eve of WWI. It was a time of tremendous tension: a traditional way of life threatened by an evolving modern world, and the land itself threatened by encroaching western interests. In this telling, Hamlet finds himself uprooted and torn between opposing values and codes, reflecting an all-too-prevalent experience of refugees and immigrants. By situating this story in a culture largely misunderstood in the west, we hope to extend the play’s tremendous power and empathy to even more diverse audiences and foster compassion across cultures. With a cast of primarily Persian, Arab and South Asian actors, and combining Shakespeare’s English with its most accurate Farsi translation – Hamlet’s central dilemma (and ours) is made manifest: how to reconcile the differences between and within ourselves.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Hamlet (Waterwell)

    A ‘Hamlet’ Poised Between Cultures (and Languages)

    Ben Brantley

    May 22, 2017:

    As if the poor guy weren’t conflicted enough, Hamlet has taken on an extra burden of ambivalence in the new Waterwell production of the play that bears his name. In addition to worrying about all the usual melancholy Dane stuff — whether to be or not to be, act or not to act, help or hurt his mom — he is now torn (to pieces) between cultural identities.

    For this scrupulously reworked version of Shakespeare’s best-known tragedy, which opened on Sunday at the Sheen Center for Thought & Culture, the Prince of Denmark has become the Prince of Persia. Not that any proper names have been changed in Tom Ridgely’s streamlined production, which stars Arian Moayed (excellent in “The Humans” and a Tony nominee for “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo”) and features the familiar Broadway faces of Sherie Rene Scott (as Gertrude) and Micah Stock (as Horatio).

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