It is the opening of the curtain that keeps an audience expectantly in their seats despite the announcement that Tonight Neither Hamlet, nor any other production shall be shown.
That, at least, is what the curtain-puller would like to believe, for if the space behind the curtain is revealed, then surely something must happen in that space. Thanks to the curtain-puller’s yearning to return to the limelight, to again practice the craft now denied to him through ignoble and unjust happen stance, something does indeed happen.
Meta-theatre takes a 180 degree turn as Adrian Galley (not Guy de Lancey as the programme erroneously states) the frustrated stage hand cannot, against his better judgement it would appear, stop himself talking in front of a captive audience. His exposition on the importance of his role, and his lament over modern theatre’s dismissal of the curtain as an essential element of theatre, soon turns to acting scenes of the Hamlet we were supposedly expecting to see.
It’s a slow start but the pace of Tonight Neither Hamlet, written by Rainer Lewandowski, does not take long to pick up.
Galley does a fine job of playing a former actor whose love of his craft, combined with his need to ad-lib in order to maintain the interest of a chance audience, leads him to tell his own story. This unfolds in tandem with his illustration of Shakespearean scenes to the point where life and art become completely intermingled.
An intriguing script, tight direction by Christopher Weare and a fine tragi-comic performance by Galley, who has commanding stage presence, make this a show that parts the drapes concealing the mundane, yet at the same time allows the ordinary to transcend its banality by revealing its everyday drama.
The world is a stage, after all. – Steve Kretzmann