HAMLET. Director Lev Dodin

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Сountries: Russia
City: Saint-Petersburg
Place: Academic Maly Drama Theatre – Theatre of Europe
Address: Str. Rubinstein, 18
Date of premiere April 10th 2016

In his new production Lev Dodin uses not only Shakespeare’s text in Boris Pasternak’s translation by also the medieval texts about Prince Hamlet by Saxo Grammaticus and Holinshed’s chronicles. The list of characters consists of fewer heroes than usual, only the central participants of the tragedy are on stage. In this director’s version we still have Goratio, Hamlet’s close friend, officers Marcellus and Bernardo. Their main mission within the walls of Elsinore is acting. Hamlet, played by Nikita Kozlovsky, entered the path of insanity. What is he in the end: a man pretending to be insane or a poor person suffering from a mental illness, which is progressing because of the surrounding circumstances – fighting for the throne and witnessing authority up close – a farther-tyrant and an uncle-murderer?  

Artistic director of Maly Drama Theatre Lev Dodin about “Hamlet”:

For centuries Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” has been spoken of as the greatest piece of world literature. And Hamlet himself became a nickname, symbolizing above all things the ideals of humanism. Hamlet equals humanist. Hamletism is similar to humanism. The unsolved mystery of this play is the following – how on earth is it possible that one of the world’s greatest humanists ends up murdering, driving mad and coming to the final act with blood-stained hands up to the elbows only to commit suicide. To be honest, we must admit that in doing so he does doubt the rightfulness of his deeds: can one murder another, is it absolutely necessary, can one avenge, is it necessary and how should one take vengeance on others to do it in the most vengeful way possible, just to kill or to find the way that would guarantee that your enemies go straight to Hell – as our Prince is a religious soul. And so Hamlet does it all, the conclusion he comes to after all his thoughts is justifying hatred, revenge, murder, and at the heart of all this lies (as he suddenly gives himself away) lust for power.

Maybe our historical optimism forced us to misjudge and overestimate humanism. <…>

In short today the puzzle behind great Hamlet’s great humanism still needs if not solving, then at least one more attempt of understanding. This story sets forth new challenges we will have to tackle. 

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Performance dates
10 March 19:00 HAMLET. Director Lev Dodin
11 March 19:00 HAMLET. Director Lev Dodin
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