Anti-Hamlet With Mark Wilson

William Shakespeare’s work have been the source of countless plays, books and films over the many years since the Bard’s death, and for good reason. There is still a lot to take from Shakespeare’s work all these centuries later, as themes such as love, politics, wrath, betrayal and others are universal throughout human history.

Australian playwright Mark Wilson is an International Fellow of Shakespeare’s Globe, and he has already previously made two adaptations of other Shakespeare plays: Richard II, a parody of Australian politics, and Unsex Me, a drag show parody of Lady Macbeth. Wilson once again returns to satirising Australian politics via Shakespeare in the third play of his own Shakespeare trilogy, Anti-Hamlet.

What made you want to take on one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays and put your own spin on it?
I’ve done it with two other plays, Richard II and Unsex Me. After those two, I felt the call of and the ambition of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and such a challenge that I couldn’t’ resist. It’s got so much in it that’s provocative. A great vehicle to explore interesting things.

You have previously worked on your own productions of two other Shakespeare plays, Richard II and Unsex Me. What is it about Shakespeare’s work that draws you in?
His language is extraordinary. Shakespeare was a big thing when I studied in theatre and art. It’s also about the ideas that exist withing Shakespeare’s work and the rigor that he explores those ideas, and puts them in exciting dramatic contexts. There’s a great description of his work as an avalanche of images.

How did you come to the conclusion that the current state of Australian politics was like the events of Hamlet? What is your goal with that?
I think the relation between theatre and politics is as old as theatre itself. One job as the artist is to talk about what mainstream voices and the leadership are refusing to talk about. It’s important to talk about the artistic mode what we think about only in more formal and structured way. Within the context of art, we can see things in different ways.

How did Sigmund Freud get involved in the story? Is there a psychology aspect to the show?
Freud wrote a couple of articles about Hamlet and used Hamlet as a way to explain his ideas to people, he was very interested in the character and his inability to take action. His theory that Hamlet had a Oedipus complex. As long as I’ve known about Hamlet, I’ve known about Freud’s interest in it.

What can audiences expect to get out of the show?
I hope they will get a good laugh, and also hopefully have some experiences that makes them reflect on different things in different ways.

Originally published here at on Monday 7 November 2016

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