Directed by Elizabeth LeCompte, Hamlet, through the interpretation of the Wooster Group, is "an archeological excursion into an icon of America's cultural past, Richard Burton's Hamlet. This legendary 1964 Broadway production was recorded in performance and shown as a film for two days only in 2000 U.S. movie houses. The idea of bringing a live theater experience to thousands of simultaneous viewers in different cities was trumpeted as a new form called 'Theatrofilm.' The Group's Hamlet attempts to reverse this process, reconstructing a hypothetical theater piece from the fragmentary evidence of the edited film, like an archeologist inferring an improbable temple from a collection of ruins. Channeling the ghost of the 1964 performance, the Group descends into a kind of madness, intentionally replacing its own spirit with the spirit of another."
The Wooster Group, whose highly collaborative work is developed through various presentations over extended periods of time, has performed Hamlet in its evolving stages at the Performing Garage, St. Ann's Warehouse, as well as productions in Barcelona, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam throughout 2006.
Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis, described the Public Theater debut of the Wooster Group, stating, "The Wooster Group is the most significant experimental theater company in America, if not the world, and Elizabeth LeCompte is a unique, visionary director of the highest order. In offering Liz and the Wooster's first Shakespeare, we are honoring two of the great traditions of the Public Theater: Shakespeare and new American Theater. The Wooster Group's Hamlet is a brilliant model of how these two traditions belong together."
The cast for Hamlet includes Scott Shepherd as Hamlet, Kate Valk as Gertrude and Ophelia, Ari Fliakos as Claudius with Dominique Bousquet, Alessandro Magania, Daniel Pettrow, Bill Raymond, Casey Spooner (of Fischerspooner) and Judson Williams.
Additional Wooster Group artists and associates contributing to the piece include Geoff Abbas, Ruud van den Akker, Zbigniew Bzymek, John Collins, Jim Dawson, Aron Deyo, Dan Dobson, Joby Emmons, Reid Farrington, Warren Fischer, Teresa Hartmann, Anna Henckel-Donnersmarck, Claudia Hill, Shaun Irons, Felix Ivanov, Bozkurt Karasu, Adam Kimmel, Gabe Maxson, Lauren Petty, Matt Schloss, Andrew Schneider, Natalie Thomas, Matt Tierney and Jennifer Tipton. The Wooster Group's Hamlet is scheduled to run Oct. 9-Nov. 18 at the Public Theater, located at 425 Lafayette Street in Manhattan. Tickets are available by calling (212) 539-8750 or by visiting www.publictheater.org.
For further information visit www.thewoostergroup.org.