|Astonishing and fresh theatre now at the McCarter Center
posted by Ralph Malachowski on Feb 6, 2017 10:30am | comments
The acclaimed New York City theatre company, Bedlam, is presenting both Hamlet and Saint Joan in rotating repertory at Princeton’s McCarter Theatre Center until February 12.
Four actors play all the parts in both plays. Yes, you read that correctly. Four actors perform both George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan, and William Shakespeare’s Hamlet (each play at three hours in length) in rotating repertory. Are they crazy? Probably. Does it work? Absolutely.
Entering the Berlind Theatre, audience members saw a completely gutted area where the stage should have been. Folding chairs, and a few movable bleachers, with a scant number of props were all that could be seen. Trepidations ran high. Was this going to be a truly awful experience? Well, there were two intermissions for this Pride Night performance of Saint Joan, so ducking out was a distinct possibility. So, what happened once the play began? Nothing short of theatre magic happened. So accomplished and committed were the four actors in their several roles that time ceased to exist in the present. All of us were living in 1429, in France, listening to a young girl who claimed to be on a mission from God to expel the English from French soil and crown the Dauphin at Rheims.
The four geniuses creating magic were Eric Tucker, Andrus Nichols, Edmund Lewis, and Tom O’Keefe. All four actors could, without a doubt, present any play, based upon their talents. Man and Superman by Shaw? Why not? Why not Schiller, more Shakespeare, Von Kleist, then? The sky is the limit, it seems, to their abilities. Their collective, Bedlam, has received rave reviews from the New York Times, Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, among others (Best Classical Production 2015; Top Ten Plays; Best Classical Production 2014; Critic’s Picks).
Artistic Director Emily Mann wrote in her program note that the moment she saw a production by Bedlam in New York City a few years ago, she knew she had to invite them to Princeton. Thank, Ms. Mann, for giving us this incredible opportunity.
You owe it to yourself to see at least one of the two productions being presented in repertory by Bedlam. If you do, you will surely want to see the other.
Saint Joan and Hamlet are being presented in rotation at the McCarter until February 12. For more information, and to purchase tickets, call 609-258-2787, or visit www.mccarter.org