Reviewed by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
It is a badass, nail-biting event akin to a Celebrity Death Match of iambic pentameter gone wild as Ramon de Ocampo takes the stage in the lead role as the Prince of Denmark. Never – have you seen Antaeus Theatre Company quite like this.
Directed by Elizabeth Swain, this presentation of Shakespeare’s HAMLET is solid and rather off the Richter scale. And even though some of the actors are a bit weaker in this production, it is, [and thank you sweet baby J!] hands down THE clearest, most accessible delivery of a Shakespeare text in [my] living memory.
The set is minimal. The stage is mostly dark. The atmosphere, decidedly tense. And yet, there is often levity – mostly delivered by Peter Van Norden who pulls out all the stops as Polonius and additionally double-cast as the Gravedigger. Van Norden dives so deep into the text that he has managed to illuminate even offshoot pieces of it that most often, in other productions, don’t make sense, except that you’ve now heard them nuanced brilliantly from his lips. Joel Swetow does the same as he delivers every important speech even in his more minor roles on stage as Marcellus/First Player/Captain. Gertrude, in addition, is empathetically played by a very strong Veralyn Jones.
de Ocampo, here, is singularly brilliant. He attacks the work with ferocity. Moving slowly at first, then gradually intensifying to reach the apex of the drama at a fever pitch and landing the finale with a powerful crescendo.
Even with any flaws that could be pointed out, Antaeus Theatre Company’s HAMLET really couldn’t be a better production for the company, a better introduction to the work itself for first-timers as well as aficionados and for Los Angeles classical theater overall. It is a truly triumphant piece of work.
Antaeus Theatre Company presents a new production of Hamlet, with Shakespearean expert Elizabeth Swain at the helm and long-time company member Ramón de Ocampo in the title role. Following the death of his father, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, returns home to find his uncle now occupies the throne and the queen’s bed. Spurred by the ghost of his father and surrounded by spies, Hamlet must choose between moral integrity and vengeance.
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed Elizabeth Swain
Starring Gregg T. Daniel, Ramon de Ocampo, Sally Hughes, Veralyn Jones, Michael Kirby, Lloyd Roberson II, Adam J. Smith, Joel Swetow, Jeanne Syquia, Peter Van Norden
Sponsored in part by Rosemary A. Hernandez
Previews: May 15 – May 19
Performances: May 20 – June 20
Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center
110 East Broadway
Glendale, CA 91205
(between N. Brand Blvd. and Artsakh Ave.)
First 90 minutes free, then $2 per hour in Glendale Marketplace garage located at 120 S. Artsakh Ave. (between Broadway and Harvard)
• All performances (reserved seating): $40
• Previews: $20HOW:
(818) 506-1983 or www.Antaeus.org
Photo (above)by Jenny Graham: Ramon de Ocampo as Hamlet
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One response to “HAMLET at Antaeus Theatre Company”
Yet another reason to visit LA!