The Douglass Theatre is bringing gifts to us this holiday season. Just a day after the historic theater presents a live HD broadcast of Falstaff from the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the downtown facility also will host an HD broadcast from Great Britains National Theatre.
And if there is any Shakespearean creation better known than Falstaff, its Hamlet. The 2010 broadcast of Shakespeares best-known work will be aired Sunday at the Douglass as part of the National Theatre Live 50th Anniversary Encore series.
Hamlet is not only the best known of all of Shakespeares plays; most critics also regard it as his finest. If someone is to see only one play by the Bard of Avon, this is undoubtedly the one, and the HD broadcast technology gives the viewer an incomparable seat.
To say that Hamlet is a play about a young fellow whose father dies mysteriously and whose mother remarries suddenly is akin to saying that Sherlock Holmes is a guy with a deerstalker hat. No, Hamlet is a raw and sometimes painful look at the complexities of the human condition.
National Theatre veteran Rory Kinnear plays the title role in this Hamlet for now, and his performance has garnered rave reviews. In this modern dress production, Elsinore Castle is depicted as contemporary dictatorship, and Hamlets mother is portrayed as a sensual alcoholic.
Given the glowing reviews that the NT production has received and the stature of Hamlet in the canon of world literature, it is regrettable that this show is scheduled at the Douglass after the close of fall semester at area colleges, for it would also constitute a considerable gift to students of the humanities.
When it comes to quality entertainment, we cant do much better than Britains National Theatre, and short of paying a visit in person, were not likely to get a better seat than one at an HD broadcast. We dont even have to be Shakespeare fans to rejoice that the Douglass is the sole theater in the entire state airing these broadcasts. Sound the trumpets!
When: 3 p.m. Dec. 15
Where: Douglass Theatre, 355 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Cost: $20 adults, $15 students and seniors