TNT THEATRE presents
Touring Beijing, Guangzhou, Chongqing and Haikou
Hamlet is perhaps the most fascinating play ever written. It is also a complex and sometimes frustrating mix of different traditions, beliefs and source material. Prince Hamlet’s own problems are those of the audience:
Hamlet is the tragedy of a man who could not make up his mind. Our production will challenge this traditional idea and try to demonstrate that the confusions in the play Hamlet are the confusions in the Prince’s mind. Shakespeare is a dramatic poet not a realist nor a Romantic. He is concerned with powerful dramatic effect. We do not see the Prince as being a man flawed by indecision, but a man paralysed by a moral problem. It is surely not a tragic weakness that Hamlet refuses to kill Claudius at his prayers if we go along with Shakespeare and accept that Claudius would be forgiven if he goes to the final Judgement saying his prayers. But the act of prayer reminds Hamlet that murder is wrong, even in revenge. Hamlet’s madness is both an act and a way of confronting the “rotten” state of Denmark with the truth. Hamlet is clear in his pursuit of truth, the play is a wonderful detective story, and he hopes that the truth will lead him to an answer to his moral question. His tragedy is not so much his own failure to act, but the essential human tragedy of Death itself. Death is the ultimate truth and as Hamlet goes deeper he constantly ends up confronting the death of those he loved or himself. Perhaps Hamlet succeeds so well in the theatre because its central metaphor is the paradox of performance: it is the Player’s performance that unmasks Claudius, it is Hamlet’s feigned madness that allows him to speak the truth and it is the whole play itself that holds a mirror up to our troubled human consciousness as it tries to make sense of morality and death.