Presented by the The Large Group at the
Maidment Theatre, Auckland, New Zealand, 24 May-14 June 2003
Written by William Shakespeare; directed by Michael Hurst






Director's Notes:

" . . . like the hectic in my blood he rages"--Hamlet, 4.3, line 68

Hamlet does rage in one's blood if you let him.

In a sense, he comes to us as a complete idea.

When we say his name, we immediately think of a melancholic; a profound thinker; a sensitive prince in mourning who has issues with his mother's hasty re-marriage to his uncle and projects these feelings of betrayal and disgust onto women in general, eventually causing the complete destruction of two families--his own and that of his beloved Ophelia.

And of course, "To be or not to be . . . "

But this is something of an illusion, for there are as many Hamlets as there are actors to play him or people to read him. The 'ideal' Hamlet is only a surface image projected onto an infinitely complex psychology, a psychology which only becomes more challenging to fathom as the play grows to reflect the various generations that approach it.

And whatever interpretations are brought to bear upon the text--it stands up! Rather than getting a hold on it and wrestling it into submission, the process of getting Hamlet onto the stage seems to be more of a case of attempting to rise to the occasion of the words themselves.

It is a marvellous, frightening, glorious miracle of a play, and we love it.

I would like to thank the company for their commitment, energy, support and fearlessness. We boldly went where many people have gone before but we brought our own baggage and our own time.

I would also like to thank William Shakespeare, whoever he was, for being the genius that he was. There is absolutely nothing quite as challenging or thrilling as bringing one of his works to the stage--and I doubt that this will ever be different.

I hope you enjoy our interpretation of this work. It is only one of many possibilities, but it is the truth of the moment.

"The play's the thing . . . "

Michael Hurst


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Hamlet Links:

Cast and Crew New Zealand Herald:Prince of Darkness New Zealand Herald Review
Sunday Star-Times Review Listener Review New Zealand Herald: Taking a Stab at Ophelia
Year-End Kudos for Hamlet Hamlet page on The Large Group website