Legendary director Peter Brook will bring his new production of Hamlet to Seattle's Mercer Arena for an April 6-19, 2001 run. After that, the drama will travel to the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Harvey Theatre April 24-May 6, and finally Chicago Shakespeare Theater in late May 2001.
The production originated in Paris in November 2000. Hamlet will mark Brook's first theatre offering in the U.S. since The Man That... at the Brooklyn Academy of Music several seasons back.
Nearly the entire Seattle theatre community will be in on the Mercer Arena presentation: the play is produced by the Seattle Center in association with Seattle Repertory Theatre, Intiman Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre and The Empty Space. (The last, coincidentally, bears the title of Brook's most famous volume of essays.)
The British actor Adrian Lester will be Brooks' Hamlet. The Seattle cast also features Jeffrey Kissoon as Claudius and The Ghost; Bruce Myers as Polonius and the Grave Digger; Natasha Parry as Gertrude; Shantala Shivalingappa as Ophelia; Rohan Siva as Laertes and Naseeruddin as both Rosencrantz and Gildenstern. It appears the cast will be limited to eight.
* Brook, born in London but long based in Paris, is one of the half-dozen most influential directors of the past 30 years, both through his ambitious, yet spare, productions, and his several volumes of theory, including the seminal quartet of essays, "The Empty Space." His career is littered with landmark productions, some of the most famous being Marat/Sade, the marathon The Mahabharata, The Tragedie of Carmen and his takes on A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Cherry Orchard.
Brook began his career just after World War II. He began a long association with what became the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1946 with Love's Labour's Lost. He went on to direct plays by Christopher Fry, Paul Scofield in King Lear and Laurence Olivier in Titus Andronicus. By 1970, however, he moved to Paris and founded the International Centre of Theatre Research. There, he assembled a group of theatre artists, including everyone from actors to musicians to acrobats, and experimented with improvisation and efforts to bridge the gaps between different cultures.
Tickets are $55-$75. For information on the Seattle staging call (206) 443- 2222.
--By Robert Simonson