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Production Analysis Paper

Hamletmachine written by Heiner Muller


Produced by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte College of Arts and Architecture
Seen on March 18, 2016 at 7:30 pm
This production which is based off the Shakespeares Hamlet is the reflection of Hamlet
themselves. However, the actors who portrayed the four variations of Hamlet did not reflect upon
the character itself but as the actor who is portraying Hamlet. The reflection that these actors and
actresses have upon themselves as actors is covering the topic of subversive art and the effect
that it has not only upon them but the society who views it.
I believe that the purpose of this production was to show how anyone who performs any
subversive art is on both sides of the conflict. This is represented through the monologue one of
the actors representing Hamlet gives in the 4th scene of the play. This idea is brought to the
forefront of the audiences mind during this monologue. With the use of strong mental imagery,
the results of these subversive ideas are shown in action within a fictional metropolis. With the
depiction of this metropolis undergoing
When the playwright Mr. Heiner Muller was creating his horribly confusing and thought
provoking masterpiece he successfully invoked the audiences curiosity. This curiosity which he
directed towards the four actors who were representing Hamlet was not focused on the character
being played by the actor or actress but by the person who was playing the character. Yes Mr.
Muller within a span of 45 minutes not only showed the bones of one of Shakespeares greatest
plays in Hamlet but also brought about the point of reflection not upon the character but upon the

actor who represent that character. Mr. Muller did this with the use of one of the four Hamlets
which were cast. More specifically the Hamlet who seemingly was the focal point of all the
Hamlets attention. This was due to him being the one who interacted with Ophelia throughout
the play and him having a monologue about how an actor effects society through their art. This
monologue which reflected upon a modern metropolis undergoing a revolution. This revolution it
seems has been in part fueled by the art that the patrons of the city have seen. This art which has
become a part of the revolution that they are now undertaking seems to be representing both
sides of the conflict. While on one hand it is part of the peoples motivation within the revolution
it also represents the authority that is being overthrown. The authority that is being overthrown is
represented by the common factors that he sees between some of the things he does as an actor
and some of the things that happen within the acting world.
The production of this play was the main thing that I took away. The masterful use of
props, lighting, acting and costumes helped create a world where there was just enough mystery
added to performance that it made the questions that were raised even deeper. The use of props
like the ones that were possessed by the four Hamlets threw homage to other well-known pieces
of Shakespeares. The most well-known and attention grabbing is the main Hamlets prop which
is Yoricks skull from Hamlet. The use of this prop not only introduces a symbol that anyone who
is familiar with Shakespeares writing recognizes but also understands what it represents.
Another prop that played a major part within the play were the televisions that were set up
behind the main Hamlet as he spoke about the before mentioned revolution happening within the
metropolis. With the televisions set up to only have disconnected screen and play static it alludes
to the topic of him as an actor being disconnected from the real world. The lighting of the stage
played just as big a part as the props did. The use of minimal lighting at times helped the

audience focus on what the director wanted us to focus on. Whether it be opening scenes with the
back of the stage barely lit or the use of only a single spot light. The use of different types of
lighting had a major effect upon the play. With the lack of lighting on the back of the stage and
the movement of the masses it added mystery and created another aspect that the audience had to
focus on. Similar to that the use of a single spot light focused on a single Hamlet giving a speech
drew all the attention to the person speaking. With the use of this the addition of props made the
scene feel complete. With the costumes that the performers wear, they add a sense of familiarity
to the play. With the use of classic Shakespearean dress for all of the performers it sends homage
to the author of the plays namesake. The use of classical dress is a major piece within the play.
Since the costumes blend so well with the other elements of the performance it adds the overall
experience. The wonderful acting is the thing that draws most of the play together. The crisp
choreography added to the things that the other elements created. Without the actors wonderful
performances all of the things that were created and set up by the other elements of the play
would have simply been wasted. The performances given added another aspect by drawing in the
rest of the stage and fellow actors by using them to add to their performance. Without the great
acting this play would be much more difficult than it already is and it wouldnt be as fluid
between scenes and have such flawless choreography.
My thoughts on the play are pretty much as sporadic as the play itself. I do not fully
understand the play even with almost a weeks worth of reflection. I believe that I would have to
see the play a couple more times in order to understand it fully. However, the play itself was
enjoyable and well done. The main concern about the play that I have is that there were some
obvious miscues by some of the actors and it is difficult to follow at times. With a little bit more
explanation of the play itself I believe that most of these issues will clear up. However, I also

believe that the play might become even more confusing if an explanation of some of the
components of the play are given. Due this it might become a hot topic for debate as to whether
the explanation is correct or if it is misguided. Overall I would see it again and any of Mr.
Mullers or the universities productions due to the seemingly high quality of the pieces and the
quality of the acting.