Arts & Entertainment

Modern, Latin American version of ‘Hamlet’ comes to Uruguay

By Concepcion M. Moreno

Montevideo, Jan 6 (EFE).- After a two-year, pandemic-triggered delay, William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” is coming to Uruguay in a production that its director describes as “very Latin American and very modern.”

“It’s a work of suspense, of politics … I think that’s what the spectator will find: a sort of theatrical Netflix,” Argentina’s Marcelo Diaz said with a smile during an interview with Efe before the play’s debut at Montevideo’s El Galpon Theater on Saturday.

Although the prince of Denmark’s torturous and complex relationship with his mother, his love for Ophelia and the mysterious presence of his father’s ghost are all present, Diaz is particularly interested in the political intrigue that pervades that classic work.

“The main (theme) in Latin America is the relationship between power and the media, and that’s where my focus is. It’s a take, if you like, that’s very Latin American, very modern too,” Diaz said.

He added that for him it made no sense to leave the setting of the work unchanged and noted that Shakespeare himself “modernized things.”

That work written around 1600 is very relevant to today’s Latin America, according to the play’s director, who underscored the “intensity and brutality” of the power struggles in his home region in the ambits of the economy, politics, the justice system and the media.

“What happened here was nothing other than a coup. This was a coup. The new king killed the other king, installed himself in power and the party that Hamlet leads, with his friends, is in the opposition, in the resistance. And that’s very Latin American. It’s relevant to our history,” Diaz said.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, childhood friends of Hamlet who serve as spies for the new king, take on a more prominent role and use cellphones and computers to carry out their surveillance activity.

The media, meanwhile, prints stories about the prince’s violent actions without providing any context for his madness.

With its “fake news” and media furor, the El Galpon version of the play brings that immortal work into the 21st century and has the potential to appeal to a younger audience accustomed to consuming other types of entertainment, the director said.

“I think we do a disservice to the theater when we treat it like a museum piece. Shakespeare is wonderful because he makes us aware that, deep down, we’re still the same,” Diaz said “The world hasn’t changed as substantially as we think, because if not these works wouldn’t be so topical.”

The director also rejected the notion that the theater cannot survive in a world inundated by films, television, Internet and video-on-demand platforms.

“There are really good aspects, but (that content) doesn’t have the depth of reflection on the human being and our relationships, on the one hand, nor the literary beauty and (beauty) of the theater, on the other,” Diaz said.

“That’s why I don’t think the theater will die,” he said, adding that stage artists are modern-day fools who hold up a mirror to today’s society.

Diaz, who received training in Germany, Switzerland and Austria and has lived in Spain since 2004, said the two-year wait for the play’s debut allowed the project to continue “maturing.”

“‘Hamlet’ is the ambition of any director, any actor … Nothing is above ‘Hamlet,'” he said. EFE


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