An International Fellow of Shakespeare’s Globe in London, Wilson’s work explores present socio-political realities, often through a connection to classical text, with Anti-Hamlet the culmination of his trilogy of radical excavations of The Bard’s iconic plays – after Richard II and Unsex Me.
Using Shakespeare’s characters as the scaffold for a raucous and ruthless excavation of Australia’s cultural and political maze, Anti-Hamlet begins with a Hamlet who doesn’t want to be Hamlet, a Prince who wants to be anything but.
His dad’s dead, his mother wants a grandchild and his therapist is the father of psychoanalysis. And as the monarchy teeters on the edge of destruction, a new leader has taken the stage with visions of a prosperous Denmark committed to freedom, the individual and the market. Stuck in a cycle of self-obsession and serial procrastination, will the weight of History itself be enough to make Hamlet wake up, grow and stand up?
Anti-Hamlet will bring together an extraordinary cast including Brian Lipson, Natasha Herbert, Marco Chiappi and Natascha Flowers, alongside Wilson himself, to take on Freud, Turnbull, public relations and colonialism.
“Anti-Hamlet takes Shakespeare’s original and puts it in the blender with contemporary Australia: what we’ve inherited and what our ambitions are,” says Wilson. “It also is a great vehicle for extraordinary performances from some of my favourite actors, and working with them is one of the most exciting parts of this project.
“Playing opposite Natasha Herbert as my mother and Brian Lipson as Sigmund Freud is a theatrical dream come true – and it will be a real treat for the audience to see these great actors going to extremes.”
New Working Group is a network of eleven independent theatre artists, writers, directors and designers committed to making theatre that is intelligent, diverse, entertaining and pro-risk. Group members include Amelia Lever-Davidson, Bridget Balodis, Dan Giovannoni, Emilie Collyer, Eugyeene Teh, Felix Ching Ching Ho, Louris van de Geer, Luke Kerridge, Mark Pritchard, Mark Wilson, and Michele Lee.
The Company’s past productions include: Dream Home which was shortlisted for the Patrick White Award in 2012; Triumph, about a fake victim who becomes a hero in the wake of a terrorist attack; and Ground Control, a futuristic experimental comedy about violence, the technological singularity and long distance relationships in the 2016 Next Wave program.
The first of Wilson’s trilogy, Richard II, explored the recent political dramas of federal Australian politics, with an eye on personality and gender politics, while Unsex Me, a drag show remix of Lady Macbeth, was packed with whispered confessions and booming self-mockery. With Anti-Hamlet, Wilson continues his bold deconstruction of the canon.
“The show is parody, it’s tragedy, it’s satire, it’s filled with ideas and a collision of characters, situations, things taken to the extreme. Hell, Sigmund Freud is a character and there’s a scene between Hamlet and his mother called ‘the closet scene’ – we’re gonna have some fun,” said Wilson.
Creator / Director: Mark Wilson Featuring: Mark Wilson, Brian Lipson, Natasha Herbert, Natascha Flowers, Marcus McKenzie, Charles Purcell, Marco Chiappi Set and Costume Design: Romanie Harper Lighting Design: Amelia Lever-Davidson, Matthew Adey (House of VnHoly) Sound Design: Tom Backhaus Dramaturg / Producer: Mark Pritchard Associate Artist: Olivia Monticciolo
Theatre Works, 14 Acland Street, St Kilda
Season: 4 – 13 November 2016 (preview: 3 November)
Information and Bookings: www.theatreworks.org.au
Image: Natasha Herbert, Mark Wilson and Brian Lipson feature in Anti-Hamlet – photo by Sarah Walker