midnight, Feb. 7, Bonaventure Hotel, downtown L.A.
Just back from the mind-blowing Wooster Hamlet, in Redcat, right next to Disney Hall. Have to write a review by noon tomorow so can't stay here long.
Silver-black industrial set with several video monitors, static-y. Cast of nine.
Hamlet in black Ren. costume, slouches on a wheelchair, stares into video monitor. Entire production more or less performed in sync with back-projected 1964 Gielgud-Richard Burton "rehearsal" Hamlet in New York; In effect, that production became the ghost of that one. Samples of video from Branagh, Zeffirelli and some Russian Hamlet also projected.
Scott Shepherd, red haired and scraggly, understates and growls the title role. Actors move robotically backwards and to and fro, to imitate the closeups and long shots of the 17 cameras (themselves fragmenting the action) of the '64 original broadcast.
In postmodernist fashion, all the artifice laid bare: costumes changed in full view, parts of furniture draped around heads; much good pruning of text (2:45 in all) with, Hamlet often pausing to nod to the sound booth (very elaborate, four guys at about eight light boards, best environmental sound I have ever heard in any theater anywhere) to say something like, "Skip this bit." Not a beginner's Hamlet: meant to be caviar. Very fast paced, creepy in spots, swordfight amazing; Ophelia too doll-like in early going. Laertes effeminate. Much insightful direction by Wooster's Elizabeth LeCompte.
I have a writng group tomorrow led by Misha Berson of the Seattle Times: 500-word review on an issue raised by this show. In my group: asst ed from Mass.; freelancer from Nashville; freelancers from Dallas; Web reviewer from St. Louis.
Most of today spent on USC campus: acting class; sessions on the new digital media (not that much diff. between mainstream and niche media; newspapers have long been just niche aggregators; newspapers using WAY old business models; much pushing of artsjournal.com); how to write criticism for middle America; three critics (Seattle, Chi, L.A.) on pet peeves like how to writer about shows you hate, how to respond to hate mail, etc.)
Dinner at the oldest Greek restaurant in L.A., on Pico Blvd in the "Byzantine-Latino" district. The baklava, I swear to God, was like an orgasm in the mouth. I had two such orgasms. Bliss. Peace out.
The rest is silence.