Blast Hamlet Toronto October 2012

Yes, yes I know. You don't hear anything from us for months and now we're doing two different shows in two different countries in a week.  Yes, we are the victims of our own enthusiasm but both were just far too good to say 'no' to.

For information on our NYC show please take a look at the Pirates and Mermaids blog post on our website's front page.

If you want to know about our Blast Hamlet in Toronto?  Here's the place to be.

Our regular readers and audiences will know that we've had a huge amount of fun doing Hamlet before - we did a Bad Quarto at the Tron that was a hoot and asked its audience to become court lackeys and lords.

Read, worked and rehearsed over two or three days and with the actors constantly up on the floor, a Blast Shakespeare asks a lot from the participants - actors have to be bold, skilled, committed, generous to each other and willing to sometimes try things that just don't work.  But mostly they have to be brave enough to play. To look past the iconic status of Shakespeare's plays and treat them like a new work - with all the searching, questioning and confidence that most actors bring to a new piece of work.

Because, and do stop me if you've heard this one before, Shakespeare didn't write for academics, classicists or exams - fine, fascinating and useful as all those things are - but for actors; who knew him, who were very skilled but also just had to get the job done in a damn short space of time, who respected him but who would have had plenty to say about the piece of writing they were given to realise and who wouldn't have had any issue with messing with it if it made things work better, faster, more engagingly.

In other words, who didn't treat the work as a holy relic but as something that had to come alive when it was at point of contact with an audience and who would have done all the things that great actors do to make sure that coming alive was what happened.

So the first week in October is an exciting one as Jeremiah Reynolds (our Bad Quarto Hamlet) and myself head up to Toronto to join 8 bold and capable souls in a two day journey of Dr Toby Malone's wonderful Bad Quarto/Folio  hybrid text The Hamlet Variorum - ending (as ever) with a live performance where even we won't know exactly what happens next. You don't get much more 'live' than that.

See me? Ah cannae wait!