HAMLET. COLLAGEState Theatre of Nations
Director – Robert Lepage
Set Designer – Karl Filion
Costume designer - François St-Aubin
Composer – Dmitry Pavlyukov
Musical score and sound - Josue Beaucage
Video artist - Lionel Arnould
Performed by Evgeny Mironov
With participation of Vladimir Malyugin
Duration – 2 h, 15 mins
Age restriction – 16+
The first Russian practice of Canadian director Robert Lepage produced a laconic hi-tech miracle encrusted with actor Evgeny Mironov giving an elastic, precise and versatile performance of all characters.
The stage of Theatre of Nations accommodates a semi-cube hanging in starred black weightlessness. Covered on all sides by plasma screens it makes for changing the scenes instantly. The virtual orchard, library, the underwater depth with drowning Ophelia, the computer clicks of the shutting door – Lepage opens up these non-existing worlds in front of the enchanted audience with the skill and inventiveness of a practicing magician. The intricately constructed attractions effectively imitate the computer games or 3-D movies acting as guiding devices to reach beyond the reality. This technological magic by no means overshadows the actor demonstrating elasticity and theatrical playfulness appearing as young and old men and women. His Hamlet wearing a white Andy-Warhol-style wig is fighting his own phantasms produced by the sick mind. Every now and then he finds himself on the slanting floor within an inch from the gaping abyss. The design and the technologies are cleverly used to satisfy the human thirst for sensations and to perceptibly underscore the sense of irony and agitation inherent in Lepage’s and his actor’s vision of the long-gone characters of Shakespeare’s play.
Everything is absolutely striking in this production by theatre wizard Robert Lepage. Rotating above the state with the starry sky backdrop is a gigantic cube. The cube is broken and its three missing sides open the acting space to the public. The space is just tiny and it accommodates Evgeny Mironov who is believably going mad throughout the 135 minutes of the running time. Lepage’s Hamlet is a madman locked up in a tiled room. The room symbolizes the consciousness and Hamlet/Mironov is unable to transcend its boundaries. It also symbolizes the planet of delusions that humankind is destined to inhabit.
Natalia Vitvitskaya, Vash Dosug
The idea that Hamlet is clinically mad is not at all new. Suffice is to recall Nikolai Akimov’s production. Not to mention that after Mats Ek’s “Giselle” the directors have locked up in lunatic asylums the majority of the classical repertoire characters. Robert Lepage had to provide logical validation of the mono-play “Hamlet|Collage”, but of course he couldn’t have possibly avoided deforming the content of the play.
However Hamlet’s madness in this play is incredibly productive. With the help of brilliant masters – set designer Karl Filion and video artist Lionel Arnould it helps transform the reality. The sets exist in the imagination of the protagonist. This imagination projects the images of medieval castles, secret rooms with bugging devices, landscapes and ballrooms on the walls of the cube. The dressing of the stage changes instantly, like in motion pictures, so it takes no time to change the sets. Besides this dressing creates the optical illusion (like in a circus side-show) and confuse the audience. What seemed real turns out to be a computer effect and, on the contrary, what seems looks flat turns out to be 3-Dl (like a painted door that actually opens or the painted chairs that can be sat in). The audience is re-housed in the protagonist’s subconsciousness and stops distinguishing between reality and virtuality.
Marina Timashova, Ekran i Scena
Even if you have read or heard about the much talked-of cube or even have seen in on TV news, you won’t help the childish admiration with the cubic structure suddenly emerging from what seems to be nowhere.
The cube will change position in concert with the turns and twists of the story. The apertures in the walls will be clapping open and closed letting in and out Hamlet, Ophelia, Gertrude, Polonius, Claudius… Some of the characters will be coming down on rope or harnesses and some will first look the audience in the eyes from the wall and only in the next scene will walk through the door.
The cube wherein all these miracles are happening is like a puzzle that needs to be rolled and twisted endlessly before its secret is revealed. The cube is hanging above the stage against the law of gravity. This can be partly explained by the fact that Lepage had specially invited experts in hydraulics and Karl Filion was educated not only as a set designer but also as an engineer.
Tatiana Filippova «RBK Daily»