Bell Shakespeare will revive their 2020 production of Hamlet for the third time in 2022.
After receiving rave reviews the production closed in 2020 after only a week and a half of shows due to the Sydney COVID-19 lockdown. It was rescheduled for August 2021, before being postponed again due to the most recent Sydney lockdown.
Directed by Bell Shakespeare Artistic Director Peter Evans, Hamlet has been reimagined for contemporary audiences, set in 1960s Denmark. The 2022 production will see the return of Harriet Gordon-Anderson as Hamlet.
Peter Evans says that giving Hamlet a female voice through the work of Gordon-Anderson, presents an interesting and new emphasis to aspects of the story.
“There is a gender thing that comes into it, particularly with Harriet, is that we are looking at a young man who when he’s angry turns to misogyny. His anger turns to fear and hatred of women.”
“When Harriet is exploring it, you can see the fragility of that. It’s always interesting but I think it has become particularly interesting in the last 10 years and as we look more deeply at gender and the behaviour of men” says Evans.
For Peter Evans, Hamlet has remained a relevant play throughout time due to several factors, such as Hamlet’s antihero persona.
Evans says: “Shakespeare manages to put the revenge drama in the hands of a character who shouldn’t be in a revenge drama. I think something about that appeals to us… In fact, he has a moral objection to what he’s been cast with and that’s a tension in the story that I think is genius storytelling.”
Evans also believes that the theme of nostalgia has kept the play as a relatable story over time. He says: “There is something about that nostalgia which I think is really prevalent nowadays, in these hyper times. I’ve really enjoyed exploring that aspect of it. I think the appeal is universal in the sense that it has very simple moral questions at the centre of it, and the questions Hamlet is asking we all ask.”
Bell Shakespeare’s Hamlet will be performed at the Sydney Opera House from March 4 – April 2, 2022. Tickets are available via the Sydney Opera House website. https://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/events/whats-on/bell-shakespeare/2022/hamlet.html