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Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011

Fools for Tragedy Deconstructs Hamlet in 'Mind's Eye'

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Countless actors have traversed the dark, twisted corridors of Shakespeare's Hamlet over the years. But time has largely rendered what was once a deep, vibrant drama into a museum artifact. In the four centuries since the play was written, it's almost become a fool's errand to try to find meaning in its madness of power, ambition and multiple homicides. The latest to attempt to breathe life into the play is Fools for Tragedy, a new theater company founded by Milwaukee actors Jordan Gwiazdowski and Clayton Hamburg.

Titled In My Mind's Eye, the Fools' deconstruction of Hamlet fragments the title character into component elements. Gwiazdowski plays Hamlet the Mad and Andrew Parchman steps in as Hamlet the Masque. An interesting casting choice finds actresses portraying the other elements of Hamlet. Jennifer Gaul plays Hamlet the Fool; Kelly Doherty is Hamlet the Son; Amber Smith portrays Hamlet the Blade; and Liz Whitford rounds out the character as Hamlet the Kingmaker.

This sounds like a fresh concept filled with new energy. If all goes as planned, Fools for Tragedy should be able to breathe new life into the 400-year-old drama.

Fools for Tragedy's In My Mind's Eye runs Aug. 25-27 at the Alchemist Theatre. For ticket reservations, visit www.alchemisttheatre.com.

Theater Happenings

  • Boulevard Theatre opens its season with an Aug. 16-Sept. 4 production of Circle Mirror Transformation, a comedy about a group of students taking an acting course at a community center. For ticket reservations, call 414-744-5757.
  • Detroit-based theater company The Hinterlands comes to Alverno College for Manifest Destiny, an offbeat Western that will move from stage to lobby to loading dock to roof. The show takes place Aug. 19-20 in and around the Pitman Theatre. For more information, call 414-382-6044.