Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Hamlet, the Melancholy Dame 

An all-female adaptation of Hamlet

Wednesday, Nov 8 2000
This all-female adaptation of Hamlet, coming after a season of Hamlets, is like a big, overcooked omelet arriving at your table after a whole morning of not-quite-satisfying omelets. The show starts in Act 5, with Hamlet's febrile death speech, then flashes back to Act 1, with Horatio and Fernando and the Ghost. What should be a heated feminist deconstruction becomes a long recapitulation of the entire play, an earnest attempt to do Hamlet with certain radical edits. Director Erin Merritt and the Woman's Will company have cut the "To be or not to be" monologue but kept in just about every unflattering reference to females ("Frailty thy name is woman," "Fortune's a strumpet," etc.), perhaps to emphasize Hamlet's (and our) sexist society, etc. etc. The result is wishy-washy. It's refreshing not to know how the show will end, and a few scenes, like the gravedigger's, have a fine, moody quality. But it fails as Hamlet and never becomes anything else. Ellen Brooks turns in the one solid performance as Claudius. Gillian Chadsey looks handsome and sullen as the melancholy prince, but she forces too many lines. Gertrude has been reduced to a Barbie doll by Mary Saudargas; Rocelyn Halili is remarkably false as Horatio; Jubileth Moore (no relation) sounds constipated as the Ghost. "Thou com'st in such a questionable shape," Hamlet says to her, in perhaps the most relevant line of the whole production.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"