Projection



Last night I say another pair of Shakespeare's plays being done on table top, each by a different actor, each performed within the hour, with a variety of objects, at Frascati. Why hire actors when you can have stuff? This kind of table top theatre is cost efficient, clearifying and dramatically effective. The only thing missing is Shakespeare's language.
Think a claw hammer (standing upside down) representing Malvolio in Twelfth Night, or a little vase with fake plastic flowers representing Ophelia and a beautifully slender, bottle filled with a sinister fluid representing Hamlet.
The word 'representing' is doing injustice to the performance. The objects actually act. Or more accurate: the storyteller who 'does' the play, cleverly puts life into his or her collection of artifacts by looking at them tenderly, letting them interact, letting them talk to or turn away from each other. I like that they don't overact: Malvolio is not hammering away at his detractors.
It turns out you can use anything to play anyone, but this group of British actors by the name of Forced Entertainment picked out their objects for their 36 table top Shakespeares with care. Most seemed to be coming from various kitchen cabinets, storage rooms, under the sink-spaces, garages and so forth.
What sardonic fun must the casting directors have had!
My personal favorite was a small sleek glass vase playing King Lear. When Lear realizes, at the end of the play, he has lost everything, his crown, his land, and his daughters, you really  f e e l  for him.
The last scene (pictured above) is a bloodbath. If you look carefully, you can see Lear lying down behind Cordelia, his favorite daughter: a small colorful, but empty bottle.

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