Wednesday, February 13, 2019


I went to the opening night performance of Hamlet by William Shakespeare at The  Orlando Shakes, (812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL 32803). My memory of the play was limited to the notion that at some point, Hamlet talks to a skull. The plot is rather simple. The ghost of Hamlet's father appears to Hamlet and demands revenge against the uncle who killed him. Hamlet talks endlessly about revenging his father's death, and then follows through. His every monologue conveys how unhinged he is about the need to avenge his father's death. I was a bit frustrated that Hamlet had a perfect chance to revenge his father and decided it was too easy so he waited. So many passages have become a part of popular culture.

This play was one of Shakespeare's most popular works during his lifetime, and still ranks among his most performed. It is also Shakespeare's longest play with this production running three hours with a 15 minute intermission. I completed most of the sketch in the first act and did most of the watercolor washes during the intermission. This production had actors rushing off and on the stage in quick succession. The cast was on the large side with 17 actors. A huge puff of stage smoke engulfed the audience where I sat when Hamlets ghost appeared.

The play was produced in the round with extra bleachers added to the Margeson Theater. I sat in the added bleachers and unfortunately that meant most of the actors faced away from me directing their performance the audience opposite my position. Junior Nyong'O from Nairobi  performed the title role. He brought a frenetic energy to the production focusing on Hamlet's more twisted, disturbed and sinister motives. Ophelia (Susan Maris) also became completely unhinged when experiencing grief. A pestle with poison, sword play and misfortune plague everyone in the final act. Tragedy wiped the stage clean.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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