Quill Theatre’s gender-bent Hamlet is a “must-see”
Opening night for Quill Theatre’s Hamlet was threatened throughout the day by torrential downpours. But shortly before the start, clouds lifted, and the rain departed . . . almost as though the Princess herself had commanded it just as surely as she commanded the stage.
The newly branded theatre’s gender-bent Hamlet rocked Richmond with Molly Hood’s breathtaking performance as the lead.
Anyone who thinks that Shakespeare is no longer relevant in the modern world simply hasn’t seen Hamlet as directed by the daring and genius Dr. Jan Powell.
Though plenty of females have played the role of Hamlet over the years . . . they have played these roles as men. Hood’s feminine reimagining of the plagued hero brings a depth and fierceness and tenderness to the timeless story that makes it new again.
That the relationship with Ophelia is played as a same-sex relationship is so fitting for the times.
And Jeff Clevenger plays both Ophelia’s father, Polonius, and Gravedigger 1 to comedic perfection. The audience roared with laughter whenever Clevenger took to stage.
The beloved Shakespeare story doesn’t change. Hamlet returns from school in Germany to attend her father’s funeral and is shocked to learn her mother, Gertrude, has already remarried . . . Hamlet’s uncle Claudius. Suspecting foul play, Hamlet feigns madness and puts in motion a plot to uncover the truth. As with much of Shakespeare, there is thwarted love, lives in ruin, and heroes die.
But Dr. Powell takes a familiar story and coaxes such hefty, nuanced performances from her cast that it seems as though we are seeing Hamlet again for the first time.
And the costuming is gorgeous. I loved that Horatio wore a hoodie with a t-shirt from Wittenberg and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as bumbling yuppies in argyle is priceless.
Opening night of Quill Theatre’s Hamlet was a night to remember. The glorious setting of Agecroft Hall, the crisp night air and the electric production are a must-see.
Hood continues to enthrall audiences as Hamlet through August 2, 2015.
Tickets can be purchased by contacting the Agecroft Box Office at 804-340-0115 or by visiting http://agecrofthall.tix.com.
lie Harthill Clayton is an out and proud bisexual with a passion for reading, writing . . . and NOT arithmetic. She’s the proud mom of two young adult men and is slowly adjusting to having them both away at college. Her work has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, the Internet Review of Books, Curve Magazine, Lambda Literary and more. She is the newest member of the Richmond Theatre Critics Circle. A paralegal by day, Julie spends her free time knitting, writing, and reading anything she can get her hands on. She lives in Richmond with her partner, local artist David Turner, and their mischievous and loving hunting dog, Max.
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