You can’t hide from live theatre. You can’t pause the show, or look on your phone, or be distracted by life. Theatre is in your face. It is live; breathing and alive.
Some pieces of theatre stick like glue to your memory. They get under your skin and almost crawl around; unable to get out, permanently living inside all of your cells. The Hamlet Apocalypse by The Danger Ensemble has well and truly got inside my head, under my skin and inside every single one of my cells! I’ve literally not been able to stop thinking about the performance since Friday night!
I’ve actually seen The Hamlet Apocalypse twice before; in 2009 at La Mama and at La Boite in 2011. I remember loving the show both times I have seen it; it was visually stunning, hilarious & featured some incredibly strong performers. But what I don’t remember is being so completely transformed by the show. I don’t remember it ‘getting inside my head’ as much as this season at Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts.
I’ve been reflecting about what was different this season. Maybe the stakes were higher this time; for me personally as an audience member? Why do I feel like the stakes where higher? Is it the emotional instability of our world? The environment? Was I more vulnerabe? The only thing I can think that is different for me, is the fact that I am now a mother? Whether you want it to or not, motherhood does change you. It changes you in ways you couldn’t possibly imagine. It makes you stronger to face certain situations, just as it makes you the most vulnerable person in the room.
What Steven Mitchell Wright and The Danger Ensemble set out to create with The Hamlet Apocalypse; was a theatre show, which exposed humans at their most vulnerable. On stage there was complete beauty amongst total, utter chaos. Moments of stillness were followed by moments of complete fear.
The premise of The Hamlet Apocalypse is simple; seven actors stage ‘Hamlet’ on the eve of the apocalypse. But the reality is that The Hamlet Apocalypse is anything but simple. It is a complex tale intertwining and blurring reality and fantasy. Reality, within a play, within a play. It uses Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ alongside the actor’s real-life hopes, dream and fears. All staged on the eve of an apocalypse. For me, it forced me to question the meaning of my life. The Hamlet Apocalypse gave me the hope to make better choices for my family and myself. It made me laugh and it made me cry. It wedged itself into my heart. The performances by every actor on stage where honest, hopeful, dark at times, hilarious at others, controlled and mesmerising.
The Hamlet Apocalypse was invigorating. It managed to unravel itself in a way that was nothing short of a masterpiece.
Anne Bogart famously once said, “If the theatre was a verb, it would be to remember” – and The Danger Ensemble’s The Hamlet Apocalypse won’t be forgotten by me any time soon.
Catch it while you can Brisbane!
THE HAMLET APOCALYPSE
9 – 19 AUGUST
Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts
Photography by Morgan Roberts