To be, or not to be: that is the question


When we are told about Denmark, Queen Gertrude, King Claudius or Horatio the friend… it is very possible that plenty of us will not know what are we being talk about. But if we hear: “To be, or not to be: that is the question”, we all know that this is the best known quotation from the theatre play Hamlet by the English dramaturgist William Shakespeare.

Clara de Ramon, Marc Rius, Alba José, Raimon Molins, Toni Guillemat and Xavier Torra, under the direction and adaptation of Marc Chornet and Raimon Molins –Projecte Ingenu‘s members-, are in charge of bringing to live the most minimalist but contradictorily most monumental adaptation of Hamlet. And I say monumental because the two and a half hours I spent inside the little space Atrium of Barcelona seemed to me a clear staging of monumental artwork like, for example, Michelangelo’s David or maybe Caravaggio’s The Calling of St Matthew if we refere to painting; or even, if we step into architectonical terms, as monumental as Mies Van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion.

Imatge 2
Detail of one of the scenes of the play . Photographer: Andrea Torres Balaguer

Hamlet, the eternal tragedy. Performed only with the clothes dressed by the actors and actresses, wooden mobile platforms to bring dimension and dynamism, a videocamera used by Hamlet to record his deepest thoughts and his more superficial delusions, glasses of wine, essence of lust and water as a symbol of creation and destruction. Hate, love, jealousy, passion, madness, humor, corruption and moral doubts are, among others, the most prominent themes of this masterly theatre play, which after four centuries keeps exciting us and makes us reflect about the darkest behavior of human beings, as it did on its first day.

Sold out, is the little sign that has joined during this last weeks the glass entrance door at the Sala Atrium. And no wonder, the first viewers that got to enjoy the play have taken part in that old tradition of the “word of mouth” to spread the excellencies of this one. We are not saying excellence only for the infrastructures and the essence of the tragedy, we say excellence because of the rhetoric and the staging by the actors and actresses, who could have done just “another” Hamlet adaptation, but instead have gone for a sensational adaptation of one of the most famous tragedies in the history of literature.

Hence, after my more than humble review of this Hamlet’s adaptation, I would like to finish with one of the best quotes, secondo me, of the play:

We know what we are, but know not what we may be.

By Maria Pérez Santafosta

Translated by Ricard Gispert

Photos by Andrea Torres Balaguer

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