By Harold Emert
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Staged by fourteen versatile actors who dance hip hop amidst flashing lights, sing, sword fight, and even include a gay kiss in an arena stage, are the attractions of this unorthodox Carioca “provocation” on Shakespeare’s tragedy, entitled “Hamlet Candidate”.
“Hamlet Candidate” is featured at Sesc-Copacabana’s Theater-in-the-round (Arena) until June 2nd at 160 Rua Domingos Ferreira, 7 PM, Thursdays through Sunday, at the attractive price of R$30 (R$15 for senior citizens).
Readers missing the artistic life of New York, Chicago, Berlin, Paris, London, and other cultural metropolises are urged to attend “Hamlet Candidate” and related stimulating events by the Alexandre Mello Atelier in Copacabana.
Like a current zany hit off-Broadway, New York City, entitled “Drunk Shakespeare”, Bard’s original text is only a starting point for talented Carioca playwright Cecilia Ripoll.
Her lucid text hits many of the ailments which continue to afflict Brazil’s artistic world and society, including censure, whether imposed by the government or feared by the artists, and a lack of financial backing for “impractical” creative projects.
And as a local arts cinema in Copacabana, their last resort is to seek aid from an (evangelistic) local church, with artistic castration strings attached.
For this observer, a third point afflicting the international artistic world – as reflected in Ripoll’s play and vibrant staging by director Alexandre Mello of his troupe – is the competition of the “serious” artistic world with popular entertainment, from TV Globo’s soap operas to American popular but often empty-headed films.
Responsible for the performance, Usina D’Arte productions, observes: “Hamlet Candidate was born out of the necessity to speak about ethics in human relations and politics. We invited Cecilia Ripoll to write the text in collaboration with director Alexandre Mello and his actors. We lived through a rich discovery process which lasted months, testing various ideas in different processes of creation, as Cecilia wrote the texts and collaborated with our rehearsals.”