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Sonoma County Gazette
Queen Gertrude (Arwen Anderson) comforts Ophelia (Talia Friedenberg) Photos by Jay Yamada

Live Theater Review ~
Hamlet at Marin Shakespeare Company

May 30, 2018
by Alexa Chipman


A successful Hamlet depends on the depth and maturity of the title character’s performance. In this complex play, interpretations of Hamlet’s reaction to news that his father has been murdered shape how he is perceived by the audience. When the prince feigns madness, is it to confirm suspicions and enact justice for his father, or are his plots sinister in nature, deliberately destroying the court of Denmark, while relishing his revenge?

Nate Currier (Hamlet) describes how “For the past couple months hordes of people have tried to tell me who Hamlet is.” He shakes free of the burden in a genuine, youthful expression of Hamlet’s woes, with natural reactions to news of his uncle’s deceit, casual jokes with friends, and a gentle warning to Ophelia that he is not worth her time. He pleads, rather than commands her “get thee to a nunnery” to save her from the pain of his downward spiraling conspiracy.

Robert S. Currier’s direction emphasizes unbreakable connections of family and includes unique uses for the playbill. The chemistry between Ophelia (Talia Friedenberg), Laertes (Hunter Scott MacNair), and their father Polonius (Steven Price) is a highlight of this production. Their sacrificial love for each other is gradually undermined through misfortune and tribulations, rushed on by Hamlet’s fate, leaving him as the unwitting cause of the family’s demise.

Blue and teal lighting design by April George plays off Jackson Currier’s industrial scenic design of metal pipes and neutral accents. Billie Cox’s sound design of ghostly tremors echoes into an eerie setting for the play. Using color to denote allegiances, such as gray and lavender for the royals, Tammy Berlin’s costumes draw on contemporary lines, predominantly to elegant effect.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are confusing in attire and do not have the vitality of other supporting characters, whereas Gravedigger (Barry Kraft) is amusing and engaging in his brief appearance, exchanging clever barbs with Hamlet over precise phrase definitions, while scattering skulls across the stage. Richard Pallaziol’s fight choreography is light and fast, with dramatic dual wielding rapiers in addition to the usual Florentine style with a parrying dagger.

Marin Shakespeare’s Hamlet is perceptive and honest, focusing on the humanity of Shakespeare’s writing and the significance of relationships between parents and children, with a sensational performance by Nate Currier as Hamlet.


Presented by Marin Shakespeare Company through July 8, 2018
Thurs/Fri/Sat at 8:00 pm, Sun at 4:00 pm

Marin Shakespeare Company
Forest Meadows Amphitheatre
890 Belle Ave, San Rafael, 94901
(415) 499-4488



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