A tour de force from Boston's Praxis Stage
A rare and wonderful Hamlet for our times is playing in two Cambridge parks, Thursdays thru Sundays, and note that the Sunday performance is at 4:00, and all others at 7:00 pm. Seating is on the grass, take beach chairs or a blanket. For more information visit Praxis Stage on Facebook or https://www.praxisstage.com/.
Talent infuses Praxis Stage’s production of Shake-speare’s famous tragedy. Each character lives and breathes right in front of us; it never occurs that we’re watching a performance. We’re immersed in pummeling reality—Hamlet’s. That is, until we turn on our minds for just a second and think: How can Eric McGowan be manic right before our eyes when he’s actually acting? In retrospect, he’s like Kevin Kline, Johnny Depp, or any of those greats who are born to become, wholly, another person for our benefit as viewers.
Why does this particular Hamlet reach us so poignantly in the depths of our souls? It feels like a story from our own times—we’re watching the people we know from our own lives. And yet, the lines are the Bard’s from 1600. And, miraculously, or because of the players’ passion and talent, the lines in this production are clearly, purely heard and understood.
Praxis’s artistic director, Daniel Boudreau, says that the company formed the day after Trump’s election, and that it “seeks to link theater with activism” by producing works that reflect current political issues and cultural conversations. “We are artists who burn to tell stories that address injustice and that imagine a more equitable and truly democratic society. We pay particular attention to forging productions with a richness in diversity and, particularly, with Boston-born and raised talent gracing our stages.”
|Eric McGowan has us in his grip as Hamlet, a Hamlet for today.|
Praxis Stage performs throughout the year, offering one Shakespeare play every summer. “We want to keep that immortal genius in our mouths, in your ears, and on as many minds as possible, as one route to the betterment of this world,” says Boudreau.
Why the name Praxis? “It’s a philosophical concept we embrace,” says Boudreau. “Praxis embodies cultural, intellectual, and artistic reflection and action directed at the oppressive structures that must be transformed, if we are to live in a liberated society. Through praxis, oppressed people can acquire a critical awareness of their own condition and transform the world.”
That is why this Hamlet—the play and the man—are utterly real to us seated on the lawn. We watch in horror and disbelief as Hamlet's life descends into the hell of our own real lives—chaos, tyranny, crime, greed, corruption, evil, and grief. Hamlet's not insane, he's beside himself with the irremediable condition of our world and humanity.