PSC presents Hamlet at the Estates Theatre

The one-man show was first presented a decade ago, and focuses on Hamlet’s motivations

To go or not to go. Prague Shakespeare Company is presenting a one-man show of Shakespeare’s classic play Hamlet for one night only March 13.

For people who follow PSC and may be puzzled, originally an encore performance of An Iliad has been planned for that date, but the play’s authors now plan their own European tour, which prevents other people from performing that play in Europe for the time being. People who bought tickets to An Iliad can use them for Hamlet, or get a refund.

An Iliad was to be a one-man show starring PSC artistic director Guy Roberts, and Hamlet will follow the same idea.

Hamlet is billed as “One man. Seventeen characters. 90 minutes.”

This version of the play takes its text from three slightly different editions, the First Folio and First and Second Quartos, and presents the plays through Hamlet’s eyes, using just scenes where Hamlet appears.

This gives insight into the character’s motivations and highlights the play’s main themes.

Thw one-man show was originally performed a decade ago in Prague and on tour in Houston, Texas, and drew positive reviews.

This new version builds on Roberts’ 10 years of growth as an artist since the original production. “People change, grow and develop, as does a cultures’ response to an artistic work. The world is very different today than it was 10 years ago and so my Hamlet must likewise grow and change. It would be impossible and ill-advised to simply remount a decade-old success. It is incredibly exciting for me to once again, after 10 years, examine Hamlet the play and man,” Roberts said.

He pointed out that there are several questions that keep Hamlet fresh and exciting: Why doesn’t Hamlet immediately avenge his father’s murder? Is it the weight of conscience “that doth make cowards of us all?”

“What keeps us from acting on our basest and most immediate impulses — is it a social convention or personal morality — or simply the fear of punishment? What keeps us alive when all forces point towards giving up and submitting to death—that ‘undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns?’ Is Hamlet a hero?

Perhaps—but the ambiguity of his heroic nature is what keeps him so fascinating,” he said.

The play, written some 400 years ago, is still unsurpassed in its complexity of thought and emotion. “In the end, Hamlet is an exciting and essential theatrical experience compelling audiences to decide for themselves whether he is philosopher, dilettante, hero, villain, lover, madman, fighter, victim or some fluid, ambiguous and contradictory combination of all of these,” Roberts concluded.

Roberts won the 2018 Houston Theatre Award for Best Actor for his performance in An Iliad.

His work as an actor, director and producer has been seen in the United States, Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, Poland, Qatar and Egypt, and he has been honored with multiple awards and over 100 US theater award nominations for Best Actor, Director and Production.

The production is approximately 90 minutes long without an interval.

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