A brief her-story of Hamlet and other gender benders
So here’s the basic proposition, as put forward by Indie5 and Hambones’ production of Hamlet, which has its final show tonight at the Old Cycle Building on 118 Avenue: maybe, just maybe, if Hamlet had been played by a woman, things might not have been quite so rotten in the State of Denmark.
At least, that’s the ambiguous sales pitch:
“We do have a woman playing Hamlet. It may change the story a lot. It might not. Grief. Betrayal. Death? Does it ever change? “
Uh, thanks a pantload, guys. That was helpful.
Over to you. It’s The Bard for $11.75 (at the door, as online sales are already done). How far wrong can you go? Alas, poor Quizno’s sub and a Starbucks, I knew them, Horatio. Or something like that. Anyway, show time is at 8 p.m.
In the spirit of tonight’s performance, we present other favourites Indie5 can reimagine via a little gender-bending:
Waiting for Godot: Two friends meet on a roadside and proceed to discuss the fact that they’re waiting for this person named Godot. All sorts of meaningful metaphorical shit is implied. Everyone in the audience goes home nodding sagely, pretending they all got the same thing out of it and knew what it meant. Samuel Beckett’s estate cashes another royalty cheque and he does a quarter-turn in his grave due to the natural kinetic impetus of karmic giggling.
The remake: instead of two men, the absurdist play about the abject tension associated with reinterpreting redefinition itself is fronted by two women. One asks the other what is happening. The other then talks for 28 minutes about her job. Then the first explains why she needs to respect herself. They shit on their respective bosses, then they shit on their best friend, then they debate the glass ceiling, and whether the Swedish dude in True Blood is Hot. Audience goes home realizing the nerve-jarring conversational inertia of the original IS what would happen if two guys who hardly knew each other had to sit by a roadside and talk for two hours.
Raging Bull: Instead of Robert DeNiro as washed up fighter Jake LaMotta, we offer, instead, Jennifer Aniston. And in that tumultuous kitchen scene, where the bloated, sweaty and unshaven LaMotta played by DeNiro – all cheap short-sleeve shirt and bruised ego – shatters the palpable family tension by smacking his woman around as a naked bulb casts moody, swinging shadows against the wall of their coldwater flat, Aniston instead..oh, I dunno.. eats cheesecake, then calls her gay friend and cries for an hour.
Bedazzled: We take a charming-but-flimsy Britcom from the ’60s starring the late greats Peter Cook and Dudley Moore and replace them with Elizabeth Hurley and Brendan Frasier, who’s almost a girl. The original was barely held together by Cook’s classic, dry wit. So we replace him with Liz Hurley impersonating cardboard. Eleven years later, everyone will remember this as a classic, we swear.
9 to 5: In the hee-larious 1980 original, Dabney Coleman was the sexist, chauvinist stereotype who is tied to an office chair by Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton and Lily Tomlin – which back in 1980 was marginally less horrifying than it sounds now. The remake: Whoopie Goldberg is an insane talk show host who says she never loved any of the men she married. They tie her to a chair. That’s it….that’s the remake. They tie her to a chair, we all leave, everyone agrees not to talk about it again and not to try and find out what happened to her. Everybody’s happy.