Following on from last year’s Richard III (a One-Woman show), Emily Carding takes on the role of the Danish prince in Hamlet (an Experience). Adapted by Kolbrun Bjort Sigfusdottir, this production immerses the entire audience by inviting them to become players. Hamlet is a director with the aim of ensuring that the truth of his story is told. Scripts are tentatively handed to cautious volunteers in what they are assured is a safe, nurturing environment.
In fact, Sigfusdottir’s script strings together each of Hamlet’s soliloquies and punctuates them with brief moments of interaction. Other characters may only get a couple of lines but Carding as Hamlet gently coaxes a performance out of each of them. The story unfolds a little awkwardly at times, but once the audience has taken on board the method, it pulls together perfectly.
On paper, it may sound gimmicky, but it allows the audience to meet the one of Shakespeare’s most complex characters at a very personal level. Outside the framework of Shakespeare’s play, Carding’s melancholy seems utterly genuine and all we want to do is help him. Sigfusdottir’s adaptation and Carding’s sensitive interpretation provide a shortcut to the empathy that many Hamlets crave but seldom achieve.