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Hamlet Cabaret Théâtre de l’Odéon

File_793_big_aff_Hamlet Text by Joanna Bronowicka  

Matthias Langhoff finally returns to the Théâtre de l’Odéon with his extraordinary interpretation of the most staged tragedy of all time. In Hamlet-Cabaret he has dissected Shakespeare’s play into sparkling and entertaining fragments. Surprisingly, in the dreamlike ambiance of an old cabaret resounding with absurd humor and vaudeville melodies, the original text reveals its full beauty once again.

Langhoff sits his audience at café tables in front of two asymmetric stages, where Hamlet’s friend Horatio becomes a female, Horatia; Ophelia is not a noblewoman, but a daughter of a public functionary; Prince Hamlet is played by an actor twice the age of his mother, Queen Gertrud; his uncle Claudius, played by an actor from Burkina-Faso, speaks with a heavy African accent; and a live horse makes several silent appearances on stage.

In keeping with the practice of radical interventions into classic texts, initiated by Heiner Müller, the play is intercepted with Shakespeare’s sonnets, John Donne’s poem, German songs and even a degustation of a German beer, which prepares the audience for the double dose of Hamlet’s most famous monologue, recited on the theatre’s balcony and then again on the stage. Despite these interventions, not for a moment does the play lose its humorous, yet lyrical charm. For those further interested in the trends originating from East Germany, Théâtre de la Ville proposes a version of Sophocle’s Philoctetes by Heiner Müller until November 21.

Hamlet Cabaret, until 12th December

Théâtre de l’Odéon

Place de l’Odéon

Paris 6

Metro : Odéon

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