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Posted at 4:07 PM ET, 06/14/2007

'To Be' Seeing Some Shakespeare

By Erin

The area's six-month Bard marathon, the Shakespeare in Washington Festival, is nearing its end. The festival wraps up this month, but there are still plenty of chances to catch some of the theatrics.

If you're pondering just what to see, then the lovable and indecisive Dane is the protagonist for you. "Hamlet" pontificates on several local stages this month.

At Shakespeare Theatre, Jeffrey Carlson's prince begs comparisons to Ryan Phillipe's Sebastian Valmont from "Cruel Intentions." This "Hamlet" features contemporary dress and what seems like very contemporary brattiness. Carlson snarls, pouts and brings vim and vigor to all of his interactions. The show is bolstered by an eerie semi-industrial set with hanging tree limbs, a suspended catwalk and lit opaque partitions that rotate to create different settings.

If you find the soliloquies of "Hamlet" less mesmerizing than the overall story, Synetic Theater's "Hamlet . . . the Rest Is Silence" is the show for you. As it proclaims, this dialogue-free production expresses the anguish and dishonor through movement in a revival of a Synetic production that garnered several Helen Hayes Awards in 2002.

For the next two Mondays, )Musica(aperta presents Six Degrees of Hamlet, a production of music, dance and readings inspired by "Hamlet." The concert features musicians from the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra and local opera singers performing songs by Tchaikovsky, John Cage and even Natalie Merchant interspersed with excerpts from "Hamlet" performed by the exceptionally talented Nancy Robinette and Rick Foucheux.

Finally, champions of the little guys will appreciate Hamlet as a background character in Studio Theatre's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead." Hamlet, Ophelia and the principal characters appear as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern bide their time with coins and amusing repartee.

If Hamlet isn't for you, there are more Shakespeare options. Escape the area's famous thundershowers with Shakespeare's stormy tale, "The Tempest." "Macbeth" struts and frets in the buff at Clark Street Playhouse in Washington Shakespeare Company's nude production.

What have been your favorite productions in the festival?

--Erin

By Erin  | June 14, 2007; 4:07 PM ET
Categories:  Theater  
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