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Hamlet 2016


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I might be a sucker for anything with a psychodelic component to it, but I really enjoyed Stephen Mills' Hamlet. I doubt that my opinion would be shared by all of the DC-area ballet fans, though. In particular, the lack of virtuoso solos would turn off some people (beyond Sarah Kaufman, whose review comes across as written by someone with a grudge against the WB. Of course, we're talking about a person who recently equated Mark Morris with Mozart...). Some also might be bothered by it being set in the 21st century rather than the 16 century.

There were a few things in it that could have been improved. Most glaringly, Claudius would have had ample time to keep Gertrude from drinking the poisoned wine. And Polonius was clearly visible when Hamlet killed him, making it less plausible that it was a case of mistaken identity.

I've seen both casts, and I actually liked the 'B' cast (with Brooklyn Mack as Hamlet) better, though perhaps this was because it was my second viewing. This cast included newcomer Venus Villa as Ophelia, and she appears to have some real potential (of course, I might have been biased because she has, even by dancers' standards, really great legs :) ).

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I went back and saw it again. Doing so just made me more frustrated with the bad review that Sarah Kaufman gave it in the Washington Post. I'm coming to think that her reviews are basically worthless. She clearly totally missed the point of the 3 mirror Hamlets (an idea that my accomplice for the performances rated as "genius").

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I, too, really enjoyed the Mack/Villa cast of Hamlet. I went in not knowing anything about the ballet, except expecting to like the Philip Glass score (which was excellent!). I had never seen a Mills ballet, and really enjoyed this one. The music, for me, really evoked the ever-worsening emotional states of the characters, and I did not think it felt rushed, as the Kaufman review mentioned. I also thought the 3 additional Hamlets were a really interesting move, and really signified again, the mental anguish of Hamlet. Great dancing by Villa and Mack! I enjoyed Hamlet a lot more than Carmina Burana, which I'll discuss in the proper thread.

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