Reviewer: Jorah Yu
Performance: 18 March 2016
To start: Ophelia is absolutely wonderful.
The story is about Shakespeare’s Ophelia – expectedly – and deliberately reconfigures the time and space of the universe belonging to Hamlet, in the context of story/play, and in relation to Hamlet the character. But without a doubt, Ophelia is the main attraction.
Placing the Hamlet/Ophelia coupling in differing circumstances on many accounts, Ophelia is a lovely taste of Contemporary Shakespeare, and an excellent example of how love and grief can either make, or destroy us.
The script, boldly and passionately written by Michelle Tan and Natalie Hennedige, has Ophelia saying “The whole world is your five stages of grief!” to Hamlet at several points which is possibly the funniest thing I’ve heard coming out of anyone for the past month. The play gives the poor girl so much character and appeal supplemented by Jo Kukathas’s fierce execution of Ophelia’s thoughts and utterances. Ophelia is so much more than the all-consuming depression that eventually led her to her death in Shakespeare’s text and I cannot express in words how much meaning the actor gives to her life and sheds light on her eventual drowning.
Many of the design choices also seems cleverly picked, with it set in a modern, yet ageless sort of world. The actors come on stage in simple clothing, black or white, most of the time, and many hints of water as an element of the show are obvious from the set, to their attire, and the overall colours.
Overall, Ophelia has been largely successful as a character study and portrayal of one of Shakespeare’s most romanticised female characters. Ophelia, unexplored but beloved, is never mentioned after her funeral in the original Shakespearean script. Cake Theatrical Production’s rendition of Ophelia in Ophelia presents to the audience the magnificence that she should have been.
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ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
OPHELIA by Cake Theatrical Productions
17 – 19 March 2016
Esplanade Theatre Studio
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Jorah Yu is currently pursuing a Diploma in Technical and Production Management at Lasalle College of The Arts, and is an avid lover of Theatre, Life, Travels and Food.