Thursday, April 19, 2007
It annoyed me that the Public's recent King Lear wasn't cast multi-racially; the only role played by an actor of color was Oswald, the servant. (How un-Public Theatre is that?) I therefore made a point of seeing that production's Oswald, Timothy D. Stickney, sink his teeth into the role of Hamlet in this off-off production cast only with black and Latino performers. It's a shoestring production, which never locks down a time in which it is set, and although it can claim convincing swordplay and an emphasis on humor as two of its distinctions, the direction is mostly pedestrian. There are, however, some very good performances: among them, Stickney is exceedingly comfortable speaking Shakespeare and makes an always engaging, immediate Hamlet; Arthur French is a stand-out in the role of Polonius; and Seth Duerr makes a lively, crafty King Claudius.