‘Hamlet’ staged anew tonight

Shakespeare’s «Hamlet,» one of the greatest plays and a crucial point in every actor’s career, opens tomorrow at the National Theater of Greece’s Kotopouli Rex stage, 48 years since it was last performed by the National Theater. Back then, Alexis Minotis had held the leading part. There is only one novelty in this current performance, directed by Michalis Cacoyannis: the part of Hamlet will be acted by Constantinos Markoulakis, whose age is close to that of the character who is stated, in the play, as a 30-year-old student. «Who can believe by looking at Laurence Olivier, for example, that he is a student? Just because he dyed his hair blond?» said Cacoyannis mockingly, commenting on Hamlet being played by older actors. «Constantinos is convincing where his age is concerned and he possesses qualities that I had not even suspected.» Cacoyannis, who has also translated the text, said that his relationship with Hamlet started in 1985, when the late actress Elli Lambeti asked him to translate the famous Hamlet soliloquy «To be or not to be.» «I owe this translation to her, and I dedicate this performance to her,» said Cacoyannis, who spent three years working on the translation. He added that it was necessary to cut some bits of the text. «If we performed the entire text, the show would last about four-and-a-half hours. One day, I would like to be able to present all of the text,» he said and suggested that they do that, even for just one performance. There will be nothing unusual about the mise en scene and Cacoyannis has handled the play as a tragedy. He pointed out that the large stage of the Rex was ideal for the performance. «If you have to squeeze and distort the play to make it fit into smaller spaces, it is better not to perform it at all,» he said, commenting on alternative interpretations of Shakespearean theater. «I am interested in projecting the author, not my own personality. I get very angry when I watch such performances.» Other actors include Vera Krouska (as Gertrude), Stelios Mainas (as Claudius) and Themis Panou (as Polonius). Memos Begnis and Alexandros Bourdoumis will alternate in the role of Laertes, while Evdokia Roumelioti and Marianna Polychronidi will alternate in that of Ophelia. The set design and costumes are by Giorgos Patsas, the music is by Dimitris Papadopoulos and the lights by Lefteris Pavlopoulos. Shows will run to February 1.