Dressed in James Aaron's interesting mix of 1940s military fashions and Banana Republic chic, the barefooted actors look as well as they move and speak. With his good looks and deep, ready-for-voiceovers voice, Saidy has an admirable command of the Shakespearean language, and connects well with the other actors. Giving a strong performance as Horatio is Josh Conklin, who (in a directorial touch by Beckerman) channels the ghost of Hamlet's father. As Hamlet's mother Gertrude, Sheri Graubert performs with a cool sensuality, leaving no one to question why Claudius (Shaw Fagan) would kill his brother and claim Gertrude as his wife and queen. Rounding out this engaging cast is C. Andrew Bauer, Taylor Bowyer and Elliott Kennerson.
Due to illness, Margot Ebling was unable to perform as Ophelia last Friday. Instead, members of the cast took turns playing the role. Christened as "the Ophelia incident" by the director prior to the show's start, this casting change did not hamper the production. Actually, it enhanced the experimental aspects of the evening. Having Graubert and male cast members intermittently play Ophelia added an interesting subtext to the show without distracting from Beckerman's rehearsed direction.
As with The Big Art Group's The Balladeer, Collision Theory's Incorporated and 6 Figure's Rita Faye Pruitte, Beckerman & Company's Hamlet is one of several productions from emerging theatrical companies with roots in New York's International Fringe Festival. Described as "the crowning moment" of the 1998 Fringe Festival by Variety, Beckerman's Alice's Evidence subsequently played at Soho Rep, HERE and Henry Street Settlement.
Beckerman's other directing credits include Woyzeck, Goose and Tomtom, Antigone, Saints and Singing and Foam. Her offbeat, expressionistic version of Hamlet is yet another praise-worthy production, and should leave audiences eagerly awaiting the company's future endeavors. As Shakespeare himself knows, "Madness in great ones must not unwatch'd go."