False Hamlet

What if Ophelia and Hamlet reunited in the afterlife? Liberated — eventually, from the conditionings of a narration whose demands are of them to wear the skin of tiny fragile creatures in a fate of folly (is it?) and death? Such a linear, almost ‘pink’, mind, as mine, has — in a very poorly hamletic fashion, no doubts whatsoever. That would be the ideal chance to live at last, as they please, an infantine, delicate love which had to be sacrificed on the altar of a tragedy. False Hamlet – Opera Teatrale in Fa maggiore director and playwright Andrea Cramarossa has a different idea, as in his version he imagines those post-mortem souls to confront each other again in a purgatorial dimension yet not for any presumed sin.

Nothing gets to transform anything into a happy ending, hélas, in the poetics of this production signed Teatro delle Bambole, since Hamlet/Ophelia/Hamlet/Ophelia, in a sequence of prolonged soliloqui, are not quite capable of becoming ‘one’, not at the price of reiterating the myth of their very personal ‘repetition’. Federico Gobbi comes in from behind the public, illuminating each and every one with one of those speleology headlights, therefore beginning an actual hermeneutical excavation, which is not only concretely blinding, but requires also a pause to the sight, in order to give priority to the hearing as a deep listening.

So much dense is the author’s penmanship as a poet, in fact, that one needs to darken one’s mind. There is very little, and very little happens, on the other hand, on stage. Perhaps a rehearsal room, or that ‘court tiny theatre’ set up to flush out the murderer, still suspended in duration at the moment of the disclosure itself. Together with this already double semantic dimension, Hamlet’s poetizing presence meeting Ophelia in the end, the talented Isabella Careccia, a string of videos with no audio inserts itself on the backcloth. Could they be memories — in the one danced attempt of spiritual ‘enhancement’ following Tiomnaja noch” (Into the Dark). Surely the truth behind the fiction of ‘theatre’.

This is what ‘False Hamlet’ is, the hyperbolic elevation of false-true, fictitious-real dialectics, in the land of the ‘symbol’ — yet discovered in a previous project by the ensemble from Bari while investigating the life of fireflies —, ending up turning those tiny fragile creatures into small willingless ‘wicks’, symbiotic in the other side as well. Such a hard work ‘to be true’ it is, that the director-playwright imagines them in a scrubbed field, dressed up as on stage, despite dog masks, disillusioned, and almost joyfully resigned to their scenic identity. Incommunicable, so much so, to end up speaking other idioms.

Reflecting in theatrical terms this is a performance more than it is a ‘tale’. For one entire week I have been pondering the nice ‘scene-pictures’, post-modern, kind of in a vintage way. Most of all, however, ruminating the script, as it unavoidably calls one back in, as a protraction of the cruel Scene I, Act III. Reflecting in poetical terms this is an ambitious, yet successful attempt of going beyond Shakespeare. The action on stage, though, still needs some more breathe, out of the philosophical roots of the poetic lines, into the flesh.

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