Máquina Hamlet

October 18 – 21, 2000

Alternate Title Hamlet Machine
Premiere US Premiere
Production Language Spanish
Country of Origin Argentina
Description Irony is the byword of the Buenos Aires theater company El Periférico de Objectos' conceptually radical Máquina Hamlet (Hamlet Machine). Adapted by Dieter Welke from the 1977 seminal avant-garde work by renowned German playwright and Bertolt Brecht-disciple Heiner Müller, the piece is a metaphorically pointed reimagining of the classic text which whisks Shakespeare's hapless prince out of politically-fraught 16th century Denmark to the turbulent and profligate 1980s.

In a series of episodes -- made lucid by jarring, disembodied voices, actors manipulating macabre puppets and dolls of myriad shapes and sizes, and a menacing interaction with the audience that invokes the fears of dictatorship -- a distraught Hamlet bears bewildered witness to the violent fall-out of apocalyptic events like the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, the dissolution of Eastern European borders, and the end of Socialism. "Who am I?" he anguishes, having been stripped of every self-defining context. Omnipresent, both veiled and revealed in the work, are the chaos and sinister realities of the dictatorial past and present-day Argentina. The work's sparse text, uttered in Spanish, is communicated through a physical theatricality that supersedes language: in Máquina Hamlet, actions speak infinitely louder than words.

Performed in Spanish with English surtitles.
Identifier 2000f.00698