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HAMLET DECONSTRUCTED (article first published : 2007-05-22)

Hamlet Deconstructed, an innovative take on the story of Shakespeare’s Hamlet is being staged at the Courtyard Theatre at Durban University of Technology from May 11 as part of the DUT Open Week. It combines essential elements of the Bard’s work married with Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead; Heiner Muller’s Hamletmachine and Margaret Atwood’s Gertrude Talks Back.

This short season is geared specifically at those studying Hamlet this year, but also for those with an interest in the great bard and the tragedy of the King of Denmark, in particular.

Visionary director Debbie Lutge has masterfully combined these various source materials into a composite post-modern production to give audiences an unusual yet balanced and comprehensive overview of this complex man and this multi-layered story.

“Shakespeare’s Hamlet shows a compass of assumptions drive by polarities that in opposition define each other: the supernatural and the mortal, reality and illusion, premeditated ambition and mistaken identity, revenge and redemption, sanity and madness, destiny and free choice. But in this production, destiny is not merely the universe seeking a balance, but the unknown, the dark underbelly, the grotesque,” says Debbie Lutge in her programme notes.

The production is a hugely collaborative event. The cast is made up of drama undergraduates from DUT; the elaborate set is constructed by drama studies stage management class and drama studies arts admin class students and others; lighting is by Tina le Roux, musical director is Madlen Tzankova and rap is by Mzukisi Miti.

“It is my hope that the audience will engage with the questions posed by this contemporary deconstruction of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and in so doing grapple with the choices made, the debates entered and the balance sought by mortal existence,” adds Debbie Lutge.

Hamlet Deconstructed is presented by The Department of Drama Studies, DUT, and runs at The Courtyard Theatre, Mansfield Road, from May 19 to 26 nightly at 19h00. Tickets R30 (R5 scholars). Bookings on 031 204 2194 or 083 472 1777.




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