A ‘Hamlet’ like no other by the Wooster Group

Elizabeth LeCompte’s take on «Hamlet» has been reviewed as being everything between a karaoke show and a visual download. The experimental take on Shakespeare’s classic is now about to be staged by the Wooster Group, LeCompte’s company, at the 260 Pireos venue Friday to June 16, as part of the Athens Festival. The same company had impressed local audiences over two years ago with its highly experimental performance of «Phaedra,» again at 260 Pireos. The Wooster Group’s take on «Hamlet» is first and foremost a show based on a film, namely John Gielgud’s theatrical «Hamlet» which was transfered to the big screen starring Richard Burton in the title role (1964). The film is actually screened on stage, while LeCompte’s actors imitate the film actors’ expressions and movements to the finest detail. They even fast-forward some scenes: they grab the remote control and «skip» some of the scenes. LeCompte had told Kathimerini that the film had provided her with a code through which she could approach Shakespeare’s language. «Burton and Gielgud knew Shakespeare so profoundly that I wanted to get inside their heads to understand him as well. It is as if you have a basic melody and every once in a while, somebody improvises. At some point thought, you will inevitable return to that basic melody.» The performance stars Scott Shepherd in the title role and further features Ari Fliakos, Kate Valk, Roy Faudree, Casey Spooner and others. The sets are by Ruud van Akker and the costumes by Claudia Hill. 260 Pireos, Tavros, next to the School of Fine Arts. For tickets contact the Hellenic Festival box office, 39 Panepistimiou, tel 210.327.2000.