I Am Hamlet | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

I Am Hamlet 

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MidTangent Productions presents yet another deconstructed Hamlet. Here adapter Tony Lewis's concept/gimmick is that the Danish tragedy is performed by inmates of an Elsinore asylum a la Marat/Sade. Amid their fever dreams, Hamlet's mimicry of insanity shrinks into actual lunacy. Like Polarity Ensemble Theatre's recent Othello, this Hamlet relies too much on masks, which freeze and formalize the acting and circumvent the play's challenges. And the script's abundant jokes get lost in Lewis's humorless institutional setting. But his streamlined staging appropriately fragments the script; Hamlet is

portrayed by three frenzied patients. And the desperation's there undiluted--seldom has this dance of death been so nightmarish. Energetic, eloquent movement conveys the emotion better than the acting, which is merely loud. --Lawrence Bommer a Through 3/11: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 6 PM, Oracle Productions, 3809 N. Broadway, 800-595-4849, $15-$20.

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