To jam the Bard slightly, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, that Tei and Farr omitted from our stage, but I cannot, perchance, think they are many.” - Hamlet, scene v.
Paul Tei is back in town and that's a good thing for our little part of the theatrical world. Lovable abnormality has returned with Mad Cat Theatre's latest culture clash, The Hamlet Dog & Pony Show now on kaleidoscopic display at the Miami Light Project.
Joined by co-writer Jessica Farr, Tei has brought us a circus of Shakespeare's Hamlet and Heiner Muller's Hamletmachine (Google it - ouch)) glued together by the Farr/Tei slick writing, sometimes brilliant staging and astro imaginations. It's just too bad they didn't bring an editor, for there were a few times when a seemingly endless scene elicited an urge to stand up and shout: “Enough already!”
And that's a shame, for Mad Cat has a lot to say, and usually they say it well, but with the Dog and Pony they're mired in current global and local political history (a tough place to garner laughs, belly or otherwise) and are at times ill-served by an uneven cast. A faint whiff of 'under rehearsed' floated through the house.
As for the plot, hey, there's Hamlet x 2 and The Dog & Pony Show, (read politics, politicians, and other blowhards) presented by Troy Davidson as a classy Hamlet, Emilie Papp as whiny, foul mouthed orange haired Ophelia, Ken Clement as pompously raging Claudius with puppet Polonius. Carey Brianna Hart, as Gertrude, shades Michelle Obama. Giordan Diaz is Laertes and Theo Reyna is Horatio. Jessica Farr is a Cabaret bedecked in black Emcee, playing German playwright Heiner Muller as she vamps throughout the evening.
The many scenes mostly rattle by, stopped now and then by theatrical magic; viz Ophelia's corpse being carried off stage.
There's prancing and dancing, singing of sorts and really well done musical accompaniment by Brian Sayre as the Drummer and Christopher Kent on the guitar and bass. Kent is also the Actor, Fortinbras, the Gravedigger and Mr Osric. Dave Corey is the excellent pre recorded DJ Yorick and James Samuel Randolph pre recorded the Ghost of Hamlet's Father.
Erik Fabregat and Ralph de la Portilla are bright spots as Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern on video.
For all, it's an interesting evening; what will pop forth next? Paul Tei stretches his theatre with every show and he does that here with some success and that's worthy of much applause just for the trying.
Directed by Paul Tei with sound design and composing by Matt Corey, set design by Sean McClelland, lighting by Melissa Santiago Keenan and costumes by Leslye Menshouse.
The Hamlet Dog & Pony Show at The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse runs through August 12. 404 NW 26th Street, Miami. 866-811-4111 http://www.madcattheatre.org/
Photos by Marj O'Neill-Butler