HAMLET (REV Theatre Company): “For the apparel oft proclaims the man” Fashion-forward styling updates HAMLET
Every year, directors across the country find innovative ways to update the world of Shakespeare. Some productions succeed with grace, while others evoke distaste among audiences. Fortunately, REV Theatre Company’s HAMLET--performed on the most exclusive burial grounds in Philadelphia, Laurel Hill Cemetery--avoids the entrapments of an overly modern turned cheesy spin on HAMLET.
The secret, of course, lies in the details. Incorporating the obelisks and the graves at large into the stage of the show emphasize the immediacy of death for these characters and the audience.
This REV production uses subtle humor, a distinct departure from the riotous productions of their Graveyard Cabaret s eries. Some of the best gems center around Bob Weick, who captivates the audience as Ghost, Player King, and Gravedigger, wearing an “I Am Your Father” T-shirt in his opening appearance as the Player King and singing the BeeGees’ “Stayin’ Alive” as he digs Ophelia’s grave.
One of the most striking aspects of this production centers on the way clothing intertwines with character. In a departure from the extravagance of the Elizabethan garb or the dark monochromatic color scheme of many current HAMLET renditions, REV’s production utilizes modern and colorful clothing with the occasional touch of Elizabethan affluence.
The styling creates a thought-provoking collision between the classical and contemporary. For example, Mark Knight as Polonius wears a modern grey suit and vest, but also a ruffled Elizabethan collar—playing up the odd, contradictory nature of Ophelia’s father.