The role of Hamlet has been adopted in over 40 film adaptations, countless theatrical productions and a myriad of literary interpretations. He is perhaps the most classic and complex character ever to take the stage, brought to life by the most renowned playwright in history. Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a man torn between virtue and revenge. He is violently philosophical and yet quietly going mad.
The latest man to tackle this intense role is UR senior Noshir Dalal. He’ll take the stage for a three-week run of the UR International Theatre Program’s spring production of “Hamlet” opening tonight at 8 p.m. A relative novice to the stage prior to college, Noshir built a reputation at UR by earning lead roles in the past two major productions. He was cast as the priest in “The Visit” in 2002, and as the father in last semester’s “Six Characters in Search of an Author.”
Like most students, Noshir had read “Hamlet” in high school and had watched parts of the Mel Gibson version released by Warner Brothers in 1991. While neither the original play nor the Hollywood adaptation had that much of an effect on him, he finds that the UR production offers an innovative modern twist, captivating those who enjoy the classics, as well as those who usually avoid anything spoken in iambic pentameter. “The set is kind of abstract,” Noshir explains, “like ‘Alice in Wonderland’ – a little surreal.” The unique approach director Nigel Maister has created for the production is sure to offer a vision of “Hamlet” that has not been seen before.
Tackling such a profound and variable role requires a strong definition of character. “Hamlet” has been performed in a variety of ways since its creation over 400 years ago, each adding to the complex psychosis of the title character. From Laurence de Olivier donning a pair of tights for his definitive portrayal, to Gibson’s sexy, straightforward action-hero approach, the interpretations are endless. Noshir focuses on Hamlet’s quick and witty mentality, revealing an internal struggle between rational thought and passionate action.
The play opens this Thursday through Sunday, and will run from Wednesday to Sunday for the following two weeks at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students, $7 for staff and seniors and $8 for general public. They can be purchased at the Common Market, the Box Office in Todd Theatre or through the Web site at www.rochester.edu/college/eng/theatre/boxoffice.html.
Full name: Noshir E. Dalal
Major: Brain and Cognitive Science
Theatrical Background: “Practically none – this is my third play ever. I played the priest in ‘The Visit’ with Nigel Maister, and the father in ‘Six Characters in Search of an Author’ with Michael Barakiva.”
Most Memorable Role: “The father – I hated him for such a long time, but by closing night, I felt sad that I wasn’t going to be playing him anymore – that’s when I had my first glimpse of what real acting is all about.”
Most Embarrassing Moment on Stage: “When I had to lift Maggie out of the fountain in ‘Six Characters,’ one night the fountain was wet – it’s made of some sort of clear plastic – and I almost fell in with her. I had to struggle for a good second or two to regain control – I felt like it lasted forever.”
Hours Spent in Rehearsal: “On the weekdays I’m usually here from 6-11 p.m. On weekends, I’m at the theatre usually at least 8 hours a day. We’re in tech now, so some of us are here from 10:30 a.m. to midnight.”
Best Reasons to Come See Hamlet: “Courage, love, murder, death. It’s just such an incredible story. His struggles against his fate and himself are, to me, tragic and inspiring. It’s gonna be a great show. I hope people will come and see what we’ve been working on so hard for so long.”
Hampton can be reached at email@example.com.