Harold Bloom has argued that Shakespeare invented our modern idea of personality; in “Hamlet3,” Live Tropical Fish presents Shakespeare as the poet of multiple personality. Three actors, embodying variously passive, emotional and mad aspects of the tragic prince, trade lines and share the stage as the three faces of Hamlet. This may sound more like the premise of a Charlie Kaufman screenplay than a viable approach to reinterpreting Shakespeare’s play, and the actual production doesn’t go far in dispelling such skepticism. The basic problem with director Christopher Fuller’s concept is that it ends up reducing, rather than highlighting, the complexity of Shakespeare’s melancholy Dane. Hamlet’s near-infinite gradations of character are boiled down to three fairly banal stereotypes. And so, instead of making Hamlet easier to play, “Hamlet3” makes him impossible. While Adam Swalley as Passive Hamlet has a certain easy charisma, Jennifer Paige’s Emotional Hamlet comes off as uncertain and Nathaniel Niemi’s scenery-chewing Mad Hamlet as cartoonish. Rudimentary performances among the supporting cast failed to give this set of Hamlets a proper context for their tragic perambulations. We may get three Hamlets, but it comes at the price of one. (John Beer)
This production is now closed.