Sunday, September 7, 2014

Hamlet: ASC's Method in Madness Tour

Ben Gorman as Claudius and Patrick Earl as Hamlet in HAMLET. Photo by Michael Bailey.
We saw the American Shakespeare Center's Method in Madness Tour preview of Hamlet on September 7, 2014 at the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton. This is the third ASC production of Hamlet that we have seen and this one stands tall with the others. Patrick Earl does a masterful job with the moody Hamlet, conveying a sense of madness that is often missing. Earl, who always turns in memorable performances, does perhaps his best work in his four-year run with the ASC in this production. The version we saw for this performance was the First Quarto version. You might also get to see the Folio version--depends on an audience member involved pre-show coin toss.

Susie Parr, a newcomer to the ASC, is wonderful as a sweet but mentally fractured Ophelia. She might just be the best Ophelia I've seen. Stephen Brunson turns in a great performance as the overblown Polonius and Patrick Poole is fantastic as Laertes. The gravedigger scene with Andrew Goldwasser (Guildenstern, Gravedigger, Marcellus) and Josh Innerst (Ghost King, Player King, Fortinbras, Gravedigger) is also very well done. The rest of the ensemble includes: Alexandra Leigh as Voltemond & Player Villain, Stephanie Holladay Earl as Gertrude, Ben Gorman as Claudius, Emily Joshi-Powell as Reynaldo, Bernardo, & Rosencrantz, and Tim Sailer as Horatio.

The music for this tour is going to be fantastic, with a great selection of tunes that showcase the multi-talented performers.