Upon entering Belk Theatre, I didn’t exactly know what to expect from this production. My foggy memory of reading “Hamlet” in high school provided some expectations, however, “Hamletmachine” is truly unique. Originally written by German playwright Heiner Müller and loosely based on the work of William Shakespeare, this play is both thought-provoking and disturbing.
The major highlight of this UNC Charlotte production are the performances from the student actors. Across the board, the acting is profoundly spectacular and captivating. The truly stunning performances bring the audience into the world of the play with enchanting monologues and rapid body movements. Each actor utilizes the stage and fellow performers to create a series of chaotic and dramatic scenes that deliver the intended message. Whether one or many actors are present, the stage feels full and alive. From Hamlet and Gertrude to Ophelia and Horatio, as well as several other famous characters from the original play, are all present in many different forms to explore society and the human condition. The various musical performances within the play are also worth mentioning as major high points. The passionate and engrossing performances by the entire cast are just one of many reasons why this production of “Hamletmachine” is worth your time.
Something that I noticed throughout the duration of the play was the constant and eye-catching use of lighting and props. Not a minute goes by without something on stage drawing your attention. Whether it be movement in the background or flickering television sets, the team behind the scenes fully helped to present the audience with extensive imagery. With the openly interpretive nature of this play, the use of imagery definitely presents viewers with material to provoke contemplation. Another takeaway from the show is the distinctive costumes for each of the characters. The wardrobe team expertly provides a possibly overlooked component of the overall production that also contributes to the extensive use of imagery. Lastly, the set design is yet another fantastic piece of the large puzzle of this production.
Explaining the plot of this performance would simply be impossible, as it is far from standard in structure. This is truly something that must be witnessed firsthand to fully appreciate. With gripping drama and sensational work behind the scenes, UNC Charlotte’s production of “Hamletmachine” is a true gem that is worth your time.
Performances run March 19, 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. and March 20 at 2:00 p.m. at Belk Theatre in Robinson Hall. More information can be found at the following link: http://coaa.uncc.edu/news/theatre-department-presents-hamletmachine.