Sooner or later, someone had to put on a performance under that name, blinding these two concepts – over several centuries of existence, they have long merged into one key word: SHAKESPEEHAMLET. Evgeny Marchelli, artistic director of the Mossovet Theatre, opened the 100th season with a production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, one of the most famous plays in world drama. The plot of this inexhaustible work is known to everyone: Prince Hamlet, who arrived at Elsinore Castle for the funeral of his father, learns that he did not die from a snakebite, but was killed by Uncle Claudius in order to take the throne and marry Queen Gertrude. After a mystical meeting with the ghost of his father, who told Hamlet how the murder happened – Claudius poured poison into the ear of his sleeping brother – the prince decides to take revenge …
Actually, from this moment begins an unusual Moscow Soviet performance. The lights in the hall have not yet gone out, the audience is methodically taking their seats, and impatient lovers have already appeared on the stage, burning each other in their arms: the girlish appearance of Gertrude (Honored Artist Evgenia Kryukova) in a wedding dress and shaggy blond Claudius (Honored Artist Sergey Yushkevich from ” Sovremennik”), as expected, in a black pair and … in house shoes without a back on a bare foot. These signs of a violation of the norm, of how it is customary to stage Hamlet, will be scattered throughout the performance. A bald youth in jeans and with a naked torso is looking at the whispering couple with no less interest than we are from the stalls – this is Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark (Kirill Byrkin). And it is in his head that the lines about “without wearing out the shoes …” come to life. At this very moment, the Ghost (People’s Artist Alexander Filippenko) crosses the desert stage in different directions, and it is he who presses an invisible button, after which, together with the hall plunged into darkness, a feeling of acute anxiety creeps into the space of the stage, which will not leave us to the end.
The director-psychologist Marchelli staged the performance according to his stage version translated by Mikhail Morozov. The fact that the characters express themselves not in the usual poetic calm, but in the language of prose, you get used to not immediately, but you get used to it, like to many other things. And above all to the characters from Hamlet’s inner circle. The clan to which Ophelia belongs will surprise: Pope Polonius (Honored Artist Valery Yaremenko), who looks like a State Duma deputy in a formal suit, his son, elegant Laertes (Mitya Fedorov) and Ophelia herself (Anna Galinova), no matter how ferocious a red-haired barmaid from station restaurant. Marchelli warned that the stereotype of Ophelia the nymph would be done away with, but hardly anyone could have imagined that it would come to such an emotional burn. The father calls his daughter Feley and, giving her a lesson in morality, instills that one should not trust the oaths of Hamlet, this “bald creature”, because his words are “snares for birds”. He also orders not to give publicity to “cherished thoughts”, and the brother calls for shyness.
Felya listens to them with the nonchalance of a teenager, imperceptibly tasting a red apple, and with all her appearance makes it clear that she and Hamlet have long dealt with all these “snares”. At the showdown with the prince, Felya will spit twice in his face: it’s unpleasant, of course, to look at this, but the girl knows better. And she will leave life behind the scenes, and a deaf-mute girl in a small black dress (Anastasia Belova), who accompanied her everywhere, crows with horror about her drowning. One of the undecipherable symbols of the play.
The performance takes place in the black and white space of the stage with many fluffy white garlands hanging down, which will collapse in the mousetrap scene, denouncing the murderer of Claudius, and turn into something similar to the wedding cake and the wedding dress of Hamlet’s mother at the same time (scenography and costumes by Anastasia Bugaeva). The musical accompaniment (Honored Art Worker of Russia Alexander Chevsky), in which the sounds of brass band instruments and the ominous flapping of the wings of birds living in the attic of the castle, does not allow us to forget for a second about the state of Hamlet, who is experiencing the drama of a family breakup. It is no coincidence that the director makes the subtitle for the name of the play “Family. Tragedy”: the tragedy of the family will come back to haunt the global tragedy of Elsinore.
Marcelli’s Hamlet is not a contemplative and not a philosopher, he completely dispenses with the monologue “To be or not to be …” and without conversations with Yorick’s skull, he is a bundle of nerves, pain, a bearer of evil that filled him to the brim, he is not able to love and is obsessed with one thought – about revenge. This Hamlet, who, like a crossbow arrow or an unwinding spiral that can mortally wound, rushes around the stage, not seeing anyone who could understand and hug him, although he is pursued by a swarm of dozens of fans in evening dresses in the hope of snarling him (actresses of the Bridge Theater ”, attached to the Moscow City Council). This Hamlet wants one thing – an explanation with his mother, but the explanation, which began with sobs, almost ends in rape …
In the image of Hamlet, the director embodied his idea of the theater, which should be “hot, explosive, provocative, thought-provoking and doubtful.” His ideal theater should “affect emotion”, “burn”, and the director paid great attention to the translator’s remark about the many “dark places that allow different interpretations”. That is why Hamlet is like that, the king and queen are like that, the subjects are like that. Such is the insane Ophelia, who suddenly demands a “carriage” for herself, the actress subtly conveys her pain and despair. In this strange performance, many spectators, with complete rejection of the beginning, sincerely applaud the finale, in which the director stops the duel between Hamlet and Laertes with poisoned rapiers and, in the voice of the announcer, dryly reports that everyone already knows: “Everyone died.”
The translator was listened to again: according to Mikhail Morozov, his translation, practically an interlinear version of the tragedy, pursued the goal of “reflecting the semantic nuances” of the performed text with the greatest possible accuracy. Alas, we have to admit that Marcelli’s Hamlet is the prince of our time, we have something to talk about with him.
Message “Some kind of rot in the state of Danish…” first appeared on Teacher’s newspaper.