By William Shakespeare
adapted and directed by Celeste Moratti
Directed by Celeste Moratti,
performed by a mixed American- Italian company,
brings to New York the culminating production of
Milan, Italy's 2013 "Hamlet Marathon."
Alexander Sovronsky as Hamlet, photo courtesy of Farnaz Taherimotlagh
"This season has seen a lot of good small-company productions of Shakespeare plays, and First Maria’s Hamlet is one of the best. It’s not easy to do a small production of Hamlet and really pull it off, but theirs is beautifully designed, expertly acted and exciting to watch. Hamlet is a thoroughly fulfilling and fascinating play to see when it’s done well, and this one, especially at it’s extremely affordable ticket price, is not to be missed."
J.K. Clarke, Theater Pizzazz
"Alexander Sovronsky is first-rate as the Prince of Denmark. He is intriguing, affable, unpredictable, humorous, dangerous. Doria Bramante plays Ophelia, a difficult task indeed. The character’s emotional journey is one that goes from balanced to crazy in the blink of an eye. Not easy to go from 1 to 300 like that, but Bramante not only pulls it off, she does it with such “womanly” conviction that she ascends expectations. Nina Ashe and Ross Hamman are terrific in all that they play on stage including Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The entire cast are solid in their performances.
Here is hoping that Celeste Moratti continues on this trajectory of directorial discoveries".
Holli Harms, The Front Row Center
To share an outstanding production of the 2013 Hamlet Marathon in Milan, Italy with a wider audience, First Maria LLC will present Shakespeare's "Hamlet," directed by Celeste Moratti and performed by a mixed American-Italian company, March 4 to 20, 2016 at Teatro Circulo, 64 East 4th Street, Manhattan. The production trims politics out of the plot in order to emphasize each character's role as either a child or a parent, highlighting mistakes of mothers and fathers and the conflicts in children between filial duty and the emergence of conscience. The performance is entirely in English.
The production is set in late '70s to early '80s, during the wave of hedonism that abruptly ended with AIDS. That's meant to frame the play in an awakening of conscience—especially in Hamlet, played by Alexander Sovronsky, but also in everyone else. The elders of the play are either overwhelmingly present or, in the case of Hamlet's father, absent to the point of being a ghostly image of himself. It's meant to be seen as a coming-of-age tale for a sheltered child who in a critical instance receives from his father an impossible order. There is a five-person greek-style chorus and live music by two Italian musicians, Francesco Santalucia and Papaceccio.
The production was originally produced by Milan's Teatro Franco Parenti in September, 2013 as the final production in the theater's "Hamlet Marathon" which featured Hamlets from around the world. Corriere Della Sera (Maurizio Porro) reported that Moratti's production echoed Peter Brook's essential "Hamlet." La Repubblica (Sara Chiappori) called it "A coming of age tale, a young man so far devoid of responsibilities who has to deal with the terrible consequences that becoming a man entail." Giornale Metropolitano (Vincent Sardelli) called it a metaphor of human development, zeroing in on "the most a-temporal and universally relatable aspect of the play: parents and children, the former either too present or micromanaging or absent to the point of becoming ghosts; children who pay with their skin for their parents' mistakes." That 2013 "Hamlet" was a production of Hyperion Theatre Company, of which Moratti was co-producer at the time. Hyperion had presented a "Midsummer Night's Dream" at Teatro Franco Parenti in 2011, directed by Michael Pauley, in which Moratti played Titania. Moratti's goal in re-mounting "Hamlet" in New York is to test her unusual adaptation on an American audience while most of her original cast could be reassembled. She is launching her own theater company, First Maria LLC, with this production.
The actors are Alexander Sovronsky* as Hamlet, Celeste Moratti as Gertrude, Michael Samuel Kaplan* as Polonius, J.B. Alexander* as Claudius, Doria Bramante* as Ophelia, Giacomo Rocchini as the Ghost, Tristan Colton* as Laertes, Nina Ashe* as Rosencrantz/ Marcella/ Player Queen, Ross Hamman as Guildenstern/Barnardo/Player King/Gravedigger and Collin Mcconnell as Horatio. Additional chorus work is by Markus Weinfurter. Live music will be performed by Francesco Santalucia and Papaceccio.
*Appearing courtesy of Actors' Equity Association
WHERE AND WHEN:
March 4 to 20, 2016
Teatro Circulo, 64 East 4th Street (betw. Bowery & 2nd Ave., E. Village)
Presented by First Maria LLC
Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 PM, Sundays at 2:30 PM
Added performance Monday, March 14 at 7:30 PM
$18 gen. Adm., $13 seniors and students
Box office: Smarttix (212) 8868-4444,
Show's website: www.HamletFirstMaria.com
Running time: two hours with intermission.
Cast and crew:
Michael Samuel Kaplan*
Rosencrantz, Player Queen, Marcella, Gentlewoman
Guildenstern, Player King, Barnardo, Gravedigger