7th World Shakespeare Congress, Valencia Valencia 18-21 April 2001,
short paper session 3.4:
Revenge as a Mediterranean Phenomenon Before and After Hamlet.

Monica Matei-Chesnoiu
University "Ovidius" Constanta

Mounting Revenge and Power from the Margins: Masks of Romanian Hamlets

It is visible that the 'performativity' [1] of Hamlet assaults the observer from the inside of the play. Actually, the first production ever of this special revenge drama can be viewed at the play's ending, with Horatio as a director and Fortinbras calling in the noblest of the "audience" (5.2.331). Horatio instructs that the bodies be placed 'High on a stage' (5.2.322) [2], warning the spectators of being about to hear tales of bloody events. Horatio looks back on a trail of intrigue and violence that gives an accurate description of an entire genre named revenge tragedy. He emphasizes the educational and morally corrective effect of the events being "performed" (5.2.337), which would prevent others from being in error again. In fact, Horatio's story is a silent one and it involves 'showing' and 'viewing' rather than 'telling.' [3] The audience [4] is expected to redress and make amends only by seeing the mute gory picture on stage. In Shakespeare's agile hands, the revenge play tradition [5] becomes a marker of Hamlet's metatheatricality. In discussing the soliloquies in Hamlet, Alex Newell addresses the question of Shakespeare's ambivalent handling of the revenge issue. He argues that "the play's view of revenge is rendered not by explicit reflections on the ethics of revenge by Hamlet the thinker but rather by what happens to him, what he undergoes in becoming a revenger." [6] This theater achieves a delicate balance between 'showing' and 'telling,' with a clear propensity towards the dramatic effect. Although we are dealing with Shakespeare's most 'wordy' play, containing the largest number of soliloquies, action comes first.

With matters like these in mind, I concur with Maurice Charney's critical position, when he points out the theatrical effectiveness of violence in Elizabethan drama
[7] and Hamlet's particular location in the revenge dramatic tradition:

Hamlet is strikingly original. It is a revenge play with a difference. Although it is strongly grounded in the popular dramatic tradition, it is unusual in its intellectuality and its constant play of speculation and displacement." [8]

In mapping out briefly the numerous theatrical rewritings of Hamlet [9] on the Romanian stage, I intend to address a number of questions: was the dramatization of revenge a central concern for Romanian directors and actors interpreting Hamlet? Did they consider this aspect as being more relevant than other ramifications of the play to Romanian audiences? During the century and a half of successfully staging the play, did Romanian directors have an eye for the meta-theatrical and parodic implications of violence within the generic discourse on the ideological legitimation of revenge? Or was the issue of theatrical violence a rather marginal component of various productions, an ingredient that came with the packaging but was to be discarded as minimal in comparison to more crucial directions? If Elizabethan misconceptions about Italy and Spain account for the usual setting of the revenge play in a Mediterranean milieu by Shakespeare's contemporaries [10], does the Northern location in Denmark change anything in the production of Hamlet by Romanian directors? Is the reception by Romanian audiences altered through the collision with the play's integration in the revenge heritage?
A traditionally Christian Orthodox nation in the nineteenth century, when Shakespeare penetrated effectively on stage, the Romanian cultural order incorporated the same general tension between two conflicting attitudes centered on the notion of revenge. On the one hand, the law and Christianity were unequivocal in condemning private revenge as an attempt by man to usurp the prerogatives of God. On the other hand, the tradition of private revenge, dating from an earlier and more turbulent time, was still very much alive. However, the stage did not cogently reflect this conflict in the public consciousness. The German, Italian and Viennese theatrical troupes mounted the first productions of Hamlet during the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth centuries
[11]. They filtered the vision of the play according to their age's expectations, in general tributary to the Romantic image of Shakespeare created by Lessing, Herder, and Goethe, but also by Coleridge and Keats, Hugo, Taine, or Pushkin. Apart from the distorted conceptual interpolation, these foreign companies staged the play in their respective languages. They effected serious changes in the text by dropping entire scenes or Germanizing character names. When a Romanian translation was available, it was often heavily tributary to these foreign implants.

The first local productions of Hamlet were rather timid and sporadic, no less influenced by the paradigm of romantic drama and the eccentricities of heavily germanized prose translations. Mihai Pascally was the first actor who interpreted Hamlet in Romanian during 1861-62
[12]. The text follows the romanticized French translation by Alexandre Dumas-father and Paul Meurice. An equally famous performance by Grigore Manolescu is staged in 1884 at the Bucharest National Theater [13]
Figure 1
This complete actor translates the French version of Hamlet by Montégut and Letourneur, being the sole director, translator and leading-role performer of Hamlet. As Odette Blumenfeld points out, "… the 1884 production established a lasting tradition in the Romanian theater: any performance of Hamlet should display a rich style of acting, usually the classic one, … it should considerably reveal the greatness of the tragic actor."
[14] The actor and director of a theatrical company, Constantin Nottara, offers a similar theatrical perspective on Hamlet in 1895 at the Bucharest National Theater. In the same year, the Iasi National Theater features the actor State Dragomir as the leading hero in Hamlet. This actor-centered and romantically biased concert of productions typifies the territory of Romanian productions of Hamlet during the entire latter-half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth. A host of highly talented Romanian actors, such as Constantin Nottara, Tony Bulandra, Aristide Demetriade, (Figure 2) interpreted the role of Hamlet on the Bucharest stage in the pre-World War I period, followed by C. Marculescu, Zaharia Bârsan, and Ion Manolescu on the Cluj and Craiova stages between 1922-1925[15]. They contributed to constructing a tradition of "lead-role" theater history of Hamlet, a canon of exemplary Romanian productions against which subsequent attempts at re-constructing the play must give us pause.

The 1925 production at the Craiova National Theater, with Ion Manolescu impersonating Hamlet, is the first Romanian full-text representation. Another remarkable series of productions is recorded in 1941. Liviu Rebreanu, a prominent Romanian writer, was the director of the Bucharest National Theater at that time. He initiated what was called "the battle of the three Hamlets," three competitive productions introducing George Vraca, George Calboreanu, and Valeriu Valentineanu in the role of Hamlet
[16]. In the first half of the twentieth century, Romanian productions of Hamlet adjusted the play to suit a leading actor, usually an outstanding theatrical figure. This protagonist styled the Shakespearean hero according to his histrionic exigencies, generally fostered at the French and German declamatory schools. The play's revenge dimension was tributary to the need of creating an essentially noble hero, in accordance with the period's romanticized perception of Shakespeare.

An unusual production of Hamlet took place, not on the professional stage, but in a Romanian court martial political prison during 1942-1943. Records of this version are very volatile. There are only some sketches by a talented prisoner and the testimonies of certain members of the audience to vouch for it. During the war, classical texts were produced in prison with a view to raising the morale of the inmates and in order to give them confidence in the end of the war. This unique production of Hamlet was mounted in a political court-martial prison in Timisoara, and later in Arad. A parody of the "To be or not to be…" soliloquy paraphrased one of Hitler's discourses, in an intertextual fusion where levels of significance were suspended above the ideological void and around the censorship functioning in a wartime political penitentiary. Nowhere could the relevance of Denmark's prison be more actual and politically responsive to an audience. There was a pun on "to be" and the German people, and "not to be" and the fascist regime. The scene where Polonius and Hamlet discuss the cloud as a camel satirized allegorically Hitler's acolytes. The play was used subversively against the Nazi regime and the theme of revenge could be altered significantly to suit the expectations of political anti-Nazi prisoners. An inmate designed the sketches in
Figure 3, and there are no reviews of this amateur production, just the actors' testimonies and these sketches [17].

In the communist period that followed immediately after the war, the theater increasingly capitalized on Shakespeare as a subversive weapon to undermine the unwanted but much feared Russian cultural domination and the alien ideology the communist officials wanted to impose. The repressed fear of being imprisoned for the only motive of existing in this country, or having more property than others, or having an enemy who could denounce one to the authorities at any time made people see the frailty of existence and understand Hamlet's dilemma or the veiled and ambivalent hope for revenge. In those depressing years, Shakespeare was a shelter and a communal place of refuge from the grim adversities of life and politics. The theater responded to the nation's need for the truth being told, even if covertly, in a Hamlet-like manner. The first post-World War II Hamlet in Romania, directed by Vlad Mugur at the Craiova National Theater, offers the young actor Gheorghe Cozorici the chance to display a Danish prince who "needs to know the fault of those who must be punished and who intends to secure good and strict justice."
[18] The perception of revenge as an act of justice, within the Christian boundaries, might provide a clandestine allusion to the unwelcome Russian military, political, and cultural influence. In 1960 the actor Fory Etterlé plays Hamlet in a production directed by Ion Olteanu at the Bucharest Municipal Theater. Constantin Anatol acts under the direction of Miron Nicolescu at the Cluj National Theater, where his version of Hamlet persisted on stage for three years consecutively. A year later, Dan Nasta plays Hamlet at the National Theater of Timisoara. Thus, theaters from four major cities in Romania produce Hamlet successfully between 1958-1961. Moreover, the radio, the most popular of all media at the time, makes Hamlet known and appreciated throughout the country, accessible to all social groups, in a production directed by Mihai Zirra, with Constantin Codrescu in the leading role. It is as if directors thought that the sequence of dramatic events in this play could have some bearing on Romania's political situation. This subversive undercurrent is visible in the directors' choice of authors (mostly Shakespeare) and plays (preferably Hamlet). My statement cannot be backed by material evidence drawing on the theatrical reviews of the time because the theaters, directors, and critics executed a complicated form of diplomatic ballet in order to avoid censorship.

By the seventies and the early eighties, the repressive regime had eased its grip on individuals by means of direct and persistent political persecution. The control became subtler, in the form of thought dominance and watchful insinuation. The audience's relation to Shakespeare in this period was one of secret complicity. Shakespeare gave a local habitation and a name to all the hidden fears, political apprehensions, and motivations. The stage was the focal point where the audience's expectations of hearing the truth clearly stated met the actors' and directors' secret wish of saying things that would elude the political censorship. Thus, a Shakespeare play became a unique location where many wishes converged. The 1974 production of Hamlet directed by Dinu Cernescu at the Nottara Theater in Bucharest (
Figures 4, 5, 6) took the theatrical world by storm. It is for the first time when the directorial focus shifted visibly from the capable actor interpreting the prince's pale cast of thought to the Denmark arena, where politics was the big game. As a theater critic pointed out, "Hamlet is a cultural and political production… It is political because an entire system of directorial conception is built on firm political attitude towards the truths in the text…" [20] It is for the first time in the stage history of Romanian productions of Hamlet when the play is seen as a tragedy of the fight for power - obtained by bloodshed, maintained as such, and lost in the same way.

Dinu Cernescu's Hamlet is a sequence of crimes, like in the royal tragedies. The right to rule is obtained through violence, cunning, intrigues, and it is lost in a similar manner. Claudius (Alexandru Repan) murders his elder brother for political reasons. Nothing entitles us to believe he did it only for love of Gertrude. The royal couple's complicity to murder increases their passion pathologically, in a Freud-like mode. This emotion connects them and makes them extremely cautious. The Danish king's court swarms with guards and spies. A perfectly coordinated repressive system protects the king, who knows he can have the same end as his brother at any time. Moreover, in the secret chambers of the castle there is another plot: Marcellus, Bernardo, and Horatio devise Claudius's murder. Horatio is not Hamlet's friend; he is the current king's enemy. Horatio sees in Hamlet the scourge of revenge and, for a time, Claudius's successor. Horatio unveils the secret of Claudius's murder to Hamlet by pretending to be the ghost of the murdered king. He might act in accordance with the text, if we accept that King Hamlet's ghost is the scenic image of the rumors about the king's unnatural death. Horatio wants to make Hamlet rebel against Claudius and to help the young prince become king himself. When they understand that Hamlet cannot act, the conspirators look for another solution. They abandon Hamlet. One night, another name presents itself: Fortinbras. The king of Norway will be Claudius's successor. The power struggle goes on. Some are plotting, others are watching, protecting themselves.

The conspiracy gains ground gradually. Yet, is it the only one? Polonius (Stefan Radoff), the king's counselor, sends his son to France, in order to remove him from the surveillance at court. To what end? And why is Polonius so much against Hamlet? Is it because the prince is the legal successor to a throne he wanted for his own son? We are reminded that, after Polonius's death, Laertes comes back to Elsinore leading the rebel Danes, who are determined to take over the power. He refrains from doing it for the moment because Hamlet is still alive. Laertes accepts deceitfully the game proposed by Claudius. And so on. Why not? This hard-hearted strife for power attains gigantic proportions under Cernescu's directorial guidance. Hamlet acquires a new and unexpected profile. Fortinbras, the possible successor, comes to the front. Hamlet is removed. Why? Because Hamlet does not want to get the throne, he only wants to avenge his father's death. Hamlet knows the time is out of joint and he cannot set it right. His coming to power would not change anything. The Great Mechanism would go on grinding and the world distribution of power will remain the same. This is not a time for the moral order to be installed. Hamlet is merely an insignificant gear in the mechanism of power.

Cernescu's Hamlet (Stefan Iordache) is not mad. He does not even feign madness. He is no longer taken for one. Hamlet has seen too much, understood too many secrets, and tells too many unpleasant truths. Unpleasant, that is, for the king and his followers. It is convened that Hamlet is mad, that he has to be thoroughly guarded, so that he cannot leave the court or the kingdom. Then, Hamlet ceases to exist. Fortinbras takes the throne and, for a while, there is an ominous silence in Denmark. Only the flute is allowed to sound faintly. Dinu Cernescu selects just a part of the complexity of the play. He gave the performance a reasonable duration. However, did he achieve the necessary amplitude? By clearing its meaning, did he not oversimplify the tragedy? Denmark is an authentic political prison, with iron bars and heavy metal doors slammed brutally, but is it also a nutshell from where Hamlet can contemplate infinity? The stage designer, Helmut Stürmer, translates the prison metaphor into an actual penitentiary with black iron bars at the windows and the leaden atmosphere of such a place. The audience sees clearly that the phrase "Denmark is a prison" is a tautology: the lateral walls are long and dark, and there are crooked corridors full of whispers ending in iron doors. The stage is like the inner court of a prison, with many dark galleries whose walls are covered with blurred foggy mirrors, multiplying the guardian, the spy, imminent danger. The arrangement of the hall-stage has been designed mainly for the whispers of those in the shadows, rather than for the dramatic exchange in the text. Consequently, the setting is not meant to express what has already been said, or is being said by Hamlet, but it is meant to visualize what no one in Cernescu's Denmark dares to voice. Nobody ventures to say that the new king's throne is placed on his subjects' dead bodies, even if these subjects, as in Polonius's case, have been fanatical partisans of the regime. The throne, a permanently moving object, is in turn a deathbed, wedding-feast table, wedding-bed. Cernescu's production is definitely political and director-centered. It impresses the audience with the effective images of the throne-casket-tomb-bed-table, of the crimson capes in the color of old crimes, of the leaden-shining mirrors, and the sharp glisten of daggers, the tools of blood revenge.

In 1975 there is a production of an original opera, Hamlet, by the Romanian composer Pascal Bentoiu at the National Opera House. The reviews of the time
[21] mention the importance accorded by the director, George Teodorescu, to pantomime and body language, combined with suggestive lighting. One can imagine what significant gesture and the interplay of light and darkness may do to an audience who expects more than the naked eye is able to see from a certain Shakespeare production. This lyrical rewriting of Shakespeare's tragedy focuses on the conceptual framework of Hamlet rather than the dramatic action. There are ten scenes representing ten key moments of the tragedy. The immobility of the setting suggests a still-life painting or the suspended movement of the film camera. This symbolic paralysis on stage reflects the undercurrent of speculative thought, where Hamlet's mind reigns supreme. Action and movement are expressed only in pantomime and body language, at times stylized in ballet scenes, like in the mousetrap section. Pantomime suggests powerful images and expert lighting intensifies it expressively. The play on light and colour is the chief merit of the production because it emphasizes the abstract ideational process. The director intends to separate the truth from errors and lies by allotting them symbolic status: all the lie-conducing actions will be depicted in cold, somber shades, while what is taken to be the truth will be flooded in warm, natural colors. The setting gives Pascal Bentoiu's music the status of an absolute abstraction in relation to Shakespeare's tragedy. Revenge, murder, power and politics are marginal issues in this Romanian musical Hamlet. The opera becomes primarily a drama of knowledge, conscience, and of candidly confronting the mutations of Providence. As a theater critic concludes, "Shakespeare's personality emerges more potently than Bentoiu's, who tries to rise at the level of the model by non-specific means." [22] The result is an abstraction, which questions marginally the absolute directives of the predominant communist ideology of the time.

In 1983 the director Nicolae Scarlat proposes the Romanian audiences a minor stage version of Hamlet
[23], when compared to Cernescu's interpretation. It is no less director-centered, in the sense that Scarlat tried to explore too many of the play's dimensions and, at times, the audience got confused. He wanted to show the demonic conscience and he actually made devils and imps walk on stage. When he wanted to reveal the troubles of this too solid flesh, a feathered Ophelia would fly to Hamlet's arms. In trying to emphasize the play's metatheatrical component, the director extended the theater-within-theater scene too much. However, this production is inscribed in a consistent series of Romanian theatrical rewritings of Hamlet. The directors intended to voice truths about contemporary issues through Hamlet, as they saw it, in a period when truth was tongue-tied. This disruptive component of the theater in the communist period might be interpreted as a form of camouflaged revenge against the unpopular regime.

A remarkable 1985 production of Hamlet at the Bulandra Theater (Bucharest), directed by Alexandru Tocilescu, (
Figure 7) has kept the Romanian public's interest for more than five years, and provided appreciated material for theatrical export, with excellent reviews, through the entire latter half of the eighties and especially in 1990. Critics have sanctioned Tocilescu's ambitious and rather confusing design to say "everything about Hamlet." [25] In the precarious contemporary circumstances, when every member of the audience may have a different opinion about this play, and it may not be coherent with the directors' intentions or the actors' interpretation, such an attempt at saying it all could seem hazardous. During the almost five hours, with only one intermission, Tocilescu bombarded the spectators with complex issues of power and the political theater, the moral condition, thought and action, conscience, revenge, life as theater, life and death, love and hatred, or the ambivalence of "to be" and "to have." Tocilescu enters Elsinore through three important gates: Philosophy (Ethics), Politics, and Art. Hamlet's dilemma of action and revenge is given a tangible resolution through the suggestion that the hero was in no doubt as to Claudius being the perpetrator of the crime. The father's immaterial Ghost is just a disembodied voice. A complex play of lighting obscures the specter, suggesting that it might be the hero's inner consciousness. In the truest Bakhtinian spirit, two clowns precede the ghostly apparition and intensify the carnivalesque image of life as theater, or art holding the mirror up to nature.

In Tocilescu's translation of Hamlet, Art reflects life's confusion and comes in opposition with Power through its divergent tendencies. While power tends to subject reality and impose an ideological monologue that would reduce life to being subservient to the despotic order, art invites to dialogue contradiction and diversity. This production is an assertion of the theater's subversive potentiality, in a period when only subtle allusions could suggest dialogical action as an alternative to the totalitarian opacity and self-assertiveness. Apart from the theater-within-theater aspect, the production suggests other forms of art as viable dissident forms of action. The play begins with a pantomime of the final fencing scene, on a black-mirror stage designed as a chessboard. The fight is interrupted by a silhouette in black, which takes a seat at the piano and provides the musical background during the key scenes of the play. The pianist (Dan Grigore) is a silent figure who intervenes in the encounters with the Ghost, and at times becomes an unnatural apparition himself. Hamlet (Ion Caramitru) joins this form in playing the piano while he receives Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. On other occasions the hero is playing the flute. Besides music, the play on mirrors and the clowns prompt related allusions to the seditious power of art.

Politics and power give a third dimension to Tocilescu's interpretation of Hamlet. The abstract attributes of the relations within the corridors of power admit material representations through the director's description of the characters having it. Claudius is a vulgar and aggressive tyrant, capable of primitive hatred and conniving action. He is the image of the political opportunist, whose only assets are cunning and venality. The King wears a military uniform, a signal of the zealous need for dominance and power represented by martial rule. He is short and insignificant-looking, but he has the grand taste for ceremony, descending majestic stairs, usually in the accompaniment of patriotic music. The veiled allusion to the contemporary Romanian counterpart of such a figure, the uneducated but scheming and power-driven president of the communist party, Ceaucescu, could not escape an audience that was eager to read topical meanings in complex plays such as Hamlet. His wife's personality lies behind the scene of the contest for power, but she is represented as a vain and jealous woman. The director creates an entire scene in which he presents the Queen's dressing room, the vanity of her mirrors, and her jealousy towards a younger and a prettier lady in waiting. The Romanian audience knew that Ceaucescu's wife was just as vain, and she used all the power she could wield to adorn herself with unearned academic titles. Polonius is the militia representative in a police state. He is limited and suspicious, but very proud of his knowledge and life experience. He thinks he can achieve the position next to the summit of power by flattery, deception, and psychological torture. The audience's reading invests him with all the characteristics of a member of the collective instrument of repression represented by the secret police in the communist state. His modern black suit designates the uniform of the obscure individuals who are the instruments of the repressive system. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are the plain and analogous instruments of power, the ordinary party members of the communist regime, while Laertes becomes involved in the mechanism of authority without being aware of it. Fortinbras is not a redeeming figure of hope. He is the rapacious harvester of the disastrous consequences of evil and tyranny. The Norse king rushes on stage wearing a long red robe, attacks everyone and murders Horatio, signaling the cyclical continuity of terror and blood revenge.

Tocilescu's elaborate production has been considered the "heaviest"
[26] Romanian Hamlet in the last quarter of century. Its successful staging had anticipated the historic events of 1989, the disintegration of communism in Romania. In an interview with Richard Eyre, the director of the London National Theater, taken in early1990 when he came to Bucharest to see the play, the British man of theater indicated the relevance of this political play to Romanian audiences. According to him, the public could read the end of the Romanian oppressive communist regime in the play about Elsinore, even before the events in real life started. As Richard Eyre said, "A play like Hamlet could speak distinctly to people, and the authorities were unable to prohibit mounting this play just because it was Shakespeare's." [27] Tocilescu's Hamlet becomes a subtle form of revenge that the theater takes over life. Like a theater-within-life play, it was the "thing" which activated the Romanians' moral sense and rectitude, helping them to take decisive action and pull apart the fifty-year communist rule. In 1990 the memorable production went on tour through Britain, where it enjoyed many favorable reviews. Analysts mentioned the specifically Romanian connotations of this particular Hamlet. As Michael Billington says in The Guardian, "This is, in fact, Romania's Hamlet, fashioned according to this country's political circumstances" and "this version is impregnated with the atmosphere and politics of Ceaucescu's Romania." [28] We have reasons to believe that there is more to various theatrical rewritings of Hamlet than actually meets the eye, and this particular Romanian production is here to prove it.

The democratic mutation of the nineties in Romania brought an increased interest in the production of Shakespeare's plays by the theatrical companies. As the more or less obvious hazard of political censorship is there no more, directorial expectations come to govern the productions entirely, and the theatrum mundi metaphor is regarded as a viable cultural response to the inadequacies of everyday life. Theaters in Romania see the Shakespearean canon as a form of theatrical collaboration that transcends cultural and linguistic barriers. The theater creates a new kind of cultural space in which the act of "playing" replaces the everyday uncertainties of the social order and the disappointment of doctrinal abstractions by representing the truth through dramatic fictions. Romanian theater becomes more self-conscious of its own medium and the magic of its illusions, making the carnivalesque and the theatrical representation a thematic matter. Directors develop a spectrum of self-reflexive techniques to insist upon the theater's powers of pretense and make-believe. Therefore, the productions of Hamlet in the nineties and in the year 2000 insist upon the play's theatricality.

Two Romanian theaters staged Hamlet during 1997-98. The lesser variant at the "Mihai Eminescu" Theater in Botosani, directed by Ion Sapdaru
[29], offers a directorial reading based on the theater-within-theater scheme. The mise en abyme effect establishes the priorities of the spectacle, and the tale of the making of a play by William Shakespeare takes precedence over the revenge story. The major themes of life as a stage and men and women as merely actors, the theater as holding the mirror up to nature, and the actor as the chronicler of times come to the forefront of this production. After the final fencing scene, when the audience expects the end of the spectacle, the actors come back on stage and sit down to talk with the audience. Only then does Hamlet slowly light a cigarette and raises the question of to be or not to be. This staging is clearly inscribed in the present-day trend of Romanian productions of Hamlet in which the director and his spectacle are all that counts.

The 1997 production of Hamlet directed by Tompa Gábor
[30] at the Craiova National Theater (Figure 8) focuses on the director's belief in the values of the spectacle and in Hamlet as a man of theater. This is the first production of Hamlet ten years after the same director's attempt with this play at the Cluj Hungarian Theater. In an interview the director says, "In producing Hamlet I saw the possibility of meditating on the meaning of theater, of asking ourselves why we are involved in the theater. Why do we need the theater?" [31] The play begins with two clowns coming on stage. While they are playing for the audience, an iron curtain descends behind them. The clowns try in vain to go under, above or beside the blind wall. Finally, they seek refuge behind the theater curtain, because this is a play after all. The iron curtain of reality, or a heavy prison door, rises to uncover the main setting of Tompa's production. In the middle of the main stage there is a smaller stage. Its reflective surface and lateral walls mirror the actors and the audience. In the director's vision, the theater is not a single reflecting looking glass but a system of parallel mirroring surfaces. Significant doubling becomes a major technique in this confusing combination of images. Hamlet's identification with The Mousetrap scenes is subtly paralleled in the casting of the same actor as both the Player King and King Hamlet's ghost [32], a figure made up to look like the Droeshout portrait of Shakespeare. The author is writing his play and sees his characters in action. Meanwhile, he is a character-actor, guided by Hamlet-character-director. Hamlet shows off the black outfit and long scarf that have come to be associated with the modern director's garb. He is not only the director of the players on the stage within the stage, but also a director of conscience. Hamlet's presence defines the author's condition. He tries to enclose his meanings within determined boundaries, in order to protect his work from ulterior political manipulation.

Tompa Gábor's Hamlet is a production organized around concentric circles, or concentric spectacles, whose starting point and end of game is the theater, its protagonist, the author, and the audience. Hamlet embodies the three basic dimensions of theatricality: director, actor, and audience. The actor and his theater emerge as the only viable ways of telling the truth as Hamlet, or Shakespeare, or Tompa, or the audience sees it. As a critic resumes, "The performance is a homage to the theater as 'mirror of the world,' and to the actor who … places his soul into the director's capable hands."
[33] Hamlet (Adrian Pintea) and the other characters play in a dramatic key, over-emphasizing the theatricality of the interpretation, in order to indicate that they are only characters of drama, interpreting a part that has been played many times before. Moreover, this particular protagonist shows he is a reflection of all the past dramatic illustrations of this role, emerging from all the romanticized, cynical, melancholy, or idealized performances of the Shakespearean hero. His costume reminds us of the known pictures showing Grigore Manolescu as Hamlet in the renowned 1884 production. What is the place of the revenge-play tradition in this complicated entanglement of self-reflexivity and meta-theatricality? Has the Romanian theater become so self-absorbed within its own artistic boundaries that it has come to neglect this Elizabethan convention? The evidence of the spectacle shows us this is the case. And it is the show that counts, after all. The wise and knowledgeable directors draw forceful guiding lines for the audience and the critics to follow and decipher. As a theater critic points out, Tompa Gábor "wants to display not so much a tragedy of revenge as one of exposing the mechanism that moves political and individual destinies in times of transition."[34] The stage director of Hamlet has become the magician Prospero, in apparent control of his spectacle.

In June 2000, the "Bulandra" Theater in Bucharest stages the seventh Hamlet in its history, directed by the Prospero of the Romanian stage, Liviu Ciulei
[35]. (Figure 9) The director can boast notable versions of A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest. The play's focus is once more on the actor and his stage, the theater-as-life paradigm, and Hamlet as an active hero-actor. Marcel Iures creates an everyday-life character, who thinks, speaks, and dies naturally. He voices the "to be" soliloquy sitting on a bench in different locations on the stage. The right side is the part of reason, the left is the seat of emotion. The middle-stage visualizes inner doubt. The director draws clearly on recent psychological and medical research concerning the physiological processes related to the two halves of the human brain, just as Shakespeare did in his time by staging melancholy according to popular Elizabethan studies. The production is 'classical' in the sense that the director resorts sparingly to postmodern theatrical techniques. His aim is to uncover the essential meta-theatricality of the Hamlet text. Seen from this direction, Hamlet's problem becomes personal rather than philosophical. What happens in Denmark is primarily a personal drama, which has come to attain universal dimensions through recurrent use and often misuse. By this artifice the director tries to recover the original relevance of the play's themes, including the revenge dimension. Before being a common Elizabethan theatrical convention and an ethical concern, revenge was a personal problem certain individuals had to deal with as part of their lives. Ciulei's anti-rhetorical eloquence aims at showing his audience the simplicity of truth.

In the mousetrap scene, however, the director shows us the usual play upon mirrors, but his Hamlet cuts a different figure. Unlike the ubiquitous and all-powerful producer of previous variants of the play, Ciulei's Hamlet suits the action to his word, he is happy with being a simple actor in the play he intended to direct. This latest Romanian production centers neither on the hero as an epitome of romantic ideals or histrionic rhetorical skills, as was the case in very early Romanian Hamlets, nor on the director as the omnipotent maker on stage, such as many of the post-war and more recent productions have indicated. Nor is it concerned with the ethical problems of revenge, or its complex refashioning by Shakespeare. Critics have noticed a certain lack of dramatic focus in this production, which is surprising when coming from a director who has come back to the Romanian stage after a long period abroad, directing Shakespeare and other plays on foreign shores. As Magdalena Boiangiu points out, "the production at the Bulandra Theater must confront one of the most terrible ghosts that can haunt a theater: the ghost of youth, of beauty, of success. In the year 2000, Liviu Ciulei could not find the theater he had left in the seventies, not even the theater revisited in the nineties. For the young generation, the legend was stronger than the man was. And maybe Prospero is getting tired of showing, as Hamlet requires, the form of the very age and body of the time."
[36] Liviu Ciulei, however, is much more satisfied with this version of Hamlet than with those he produced in 1977 in Washington, or in 1984 in New York.

A memorable comment by a Romanian critic helps us admit the idea that it is next to impossible for any stage production, however exhaustive its director may want it to be, to encompass the complexity of Hamlet. As Cristina Modreanu says, "Liviu Ciulei's re-visitation of Hamlet on the Romanian stage looks like a family doctor's visit to a patient whom nobody can diagnose correctly."
[37] Could Shakespeare have envisaged such an effect of his theater? We know what we are, but we cannot know what we might become, or what may become of our actions. In a lecture on Hamlet published in Romania, Stephen Greenblatt argues that the play's 'corrosive interiority' resides in the movement from revenge to remembrance. He infers that Shakespeare was influenced by the dispute between Catholics and Protestants regarding the burial of the dead and life after death. The revenge theme became a play of remembrance in Shakespeare's hands as a result of the Catholic rites concerning the memorial of the dead and the Purgatory, challenged in the writings of Simon Fish and abolished by later Protestant practices. Finally, Greenblatt concludes (with John Gee) that "the space of the Purgatory becomes the stage space, which Old Hamlet's ghost will continue to haunt." [38] It is precisely this repeated remembrance on stage, I would argue, that has transformed the ghosts of old and young Hamlet into perpetual haunters of consciences. It is said that every actor's dream is to interpret Hamlet and producing it suits every director's wish. It is not my intention here to construct a series of "greatests" - from Shakespeare as greatest playwright through Hamlet as the greatest play to Hamlet as the greatest acting challenge. However, my belief is that our fascination with this play sustains a form of revenge that the ubiquitous ghost of Hamlet takes on us all. We cannot escape being haunted by its remembrance and we try to revisit it in every possible artistic configuration. However, by re-playing the sanguinary scenes in "accents yet unknown" we carry out exactly what Shakespeare may have wanted us to do: we show more than we can tell.


[1] Terence Hawkes, in the SHAKSPER posting of January 3, 2001 (SHK 12.0002 Re: Literary vs. Theatrical Shakespeare) emphasizes the performative meaning of the term 'playing:' "It seems to me that 'playing' in the early modern sense was a much more complex business than we allow, involving a far broader range of 'performative' activity than that implied by the term 'acting'." [back]

[2] All the Hamlet quotations are keyed to the Norton Shakespeare, Stephen Greenblatt (Gen. Ed) (New York: Norton, 1997). [back]

[3] Stanley Cavell warns that "you always tell more and tell less than you know." In Quest of the Ordinary. Lines of Skepticism and Romanticism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988): 83.[back]

[4] For the effect of the revenge motif in Hamlet on Elizabethan audiences see Michael Cameron Andrews, "Hamlet, Revenge and the Critical Mirror." English Literary Renaissance 8 (1978): 9-23; "Hamlet and the Satisfactions of Revenge." Hamlet Studies 3 (1981): 83-102; Richard T. Brucher, "Fantasies of Violence: Hamlet and The Revenger`s Tragedy." Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 21 (1981): 257-70; Peter Mercer, Hamlet and the Acting of Revenge (London: Macmillan; Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1987); Michael Neill, "Remembrance and Revenge: Hamlet, Macbeth and The Tempest ." Donaldson, Ian, editor, Jonson and Shakespeare (Canberra: Australian National University; Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1983): 35-56; Martha Rozett, "Aristotle, the Revenger, and the Elizabethan Audience." Studies in Philology 76 (1979): 239-61; Molly Smith, The Darker World Within: Evil in the Tragedies of Shakespeare and His Successors. (Newark: University of Delaware Press; London and Toronto: Associated University Presses, 1991). [back]

[5] For studies on Hamlet and the meta-theatrical implications of revenge see Millicent Bell, "Hamlet, Revenge!" Hudson Review 51 (1998-99): 310-28; Phyllis Gorfain, "Toward a Theory of Play and the Carnivalesque in Hamlet." Hamlet Studies 13 (1991): 25-49; Douglas E. Green, "Staging the Evidence: Shakespeare's Theatrical Revengers." The Upstart Crow 12 (1992): 29-40; Joan Lord Hall, The Dynamics of Role-Playing in Jacobean Tragedy (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991); Charles A. Hallett and Elaine S. Hallett, The Revenger`s Madness: A Study of Revenge Tragedy Motifs (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1980); David Scott Kastan, "'His semblable is his mirror': Hamlet and the Imitation of Revenge." Shakespeare Studies 19 (1987): 111-24; John Kerrigan, Revenge Tragedy: Aeschylus to Armageddon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996); Arthur Lindley, "'A crafty madness': Carnival and the Politics of Revenge," in Hyperion and the Hobbyhorse: Studies in Carnivalesque Subversion (Newark: University of Delaware Press; London: Associated University Presses, 1996):112-36; Jean-Marie Maguin, "Hamlet and Revenge: Religious, Moral, Legal, and Dramatic Codes." Iselin, Pierre, editor. William Shakespeare: Hamlet (Collection CNED-Didier Concours CAPES/Agrégation d'anglais.) (Paris: Didier Erudition, 1997): 51-66; Sudhakar Marathe, "Hamlet and Revenge Once Again." Hamlet Studies 12 (1990): 94-102; Francesco Minetti, "Retori, attori e poeti: La scena della violenza in Hamlet e Titus Andronicus." Annali Instituto Universitario Orientale: Anglistica 38, nos. 1-2 (1995): 137-49; Lois Potter, "Shakespeare and the Art of Revenge." Shakespeare Studies (Shakespeare Society of Japan) 32 (1994): 29-54; Ann Thompson and Neil Taylor (eds.) William Shakespeare: Hamlet. (Writers and their Work). (Plymouth, England: Northcote House in Association with the British Council, 1996); Jean-Pierre Villaquin, "Hamlet, tragédie de la vengeance?" in Suhamy, Henri (ed.). Hamlet (CAPES/Agrégation d'anglais) (Paris: Ellipses, 1997): 8-20.[back]

[6] Alex Newell, The Soliloquies in Hamlet. The Structural Design (Rutheford: Farleigh Dickinson University Press, London and Toronto: Associated University Presses, 1991): 49. [back]

[7] Maurice Charney, "The Persuasiveness of Violence in Elizabethan Plays," Renaissance Drama, ed. S. Schoenbaum (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1969): 59-70. [back]

[8] Maurice Charney, Hamlet's Fictions (New York: Routledge, 1988): ix. [back]

[9] For extensive studies tracing the reception of Hamlet in Romania see: Marcu Beza, Shakespeare in Rumania (London: J.M. Dent&Sons, 1931); Aurel Curtui, Hamlet în România (Bucuresti: Minerva, 1977), which covers the areas of translations, criticism, and productions of Hamlet on the Romanian stage up to the mid-seventies; Alexandru Dusu, Shakespeare in Rumania. A Bibliographical Essay with an Introduction by Mihnea Gheorghiu (Bucharest: Meridiane Publishing House, 1964). Among the large number of Romanian critical studies of interest about Hamlet I mention only a few: Ion Botez, "Hamlet în tragedia shakespeariana," Viata româneasca (Iasi: Institut de arte grafice si editura , 1925): 15-29; "Sentimentul razbunarii si supranaturalului în Hamlet," (Iasi: Institut de arte grafice si editura , 1928): 47; Ana Cartianu, "William Shakespeare (1564-1964)," Viata româneasca 11 (1964): 76-78; "Ecou shakespearian," Eseuri de literatura engleza si americana(Cluj: Editura Dacia, 1973): 23-37; "William Shakespeare în veacul sau si peste veacuri," Eseuri de literatura engleza si americana(Cluj: Editura Dacia, 1973): 5-22; Didi Cenuser, Hamlet, altfel? (Sibiu: Editura Universitatii din Sibiu, 1995); Al. Davila, "Hamlet," Literatura si arta româna (Bucuresti, 1898): 401; Mihail Dragomirescu, "Hamlet," Critica dramatica (Bucuresti, 1904): 9-18; "Hamlet," Critica (Bucuresti: Editura Casei Scoalelor, 1928): 79; Al Dutu, "Problematica hamletiana si unele studii recente," Revista de filologie romanica si germanica 2 (Bucuresti, 1963): 341-351; B. Fundoianu, "Hamlet si Electra," Rampa (17 aprilie 1916): 1; Mihnea Gheorghiu, "Un Shakespeare al erei moderne," Orientari în literatura straina (E.S.P.L.A., 1958): 5-67; Dan Grigorescu, Shakespeare în cultura româna moderna (Bucuresti: Minerva, 1971; Leon Levitchi and Dan Dutescu, "Limba si stilul lui Shakespeare," Introduction to W. Shakespeare, Antologie Bilingva (Bucuresti: Editura stiintifica, 1964): 16-52; Lovinescu, E. "Hamletiana," Rampa I, 54 (28 oct. 1915): 15; Cornel Moldovanu, "Hamlet," Autori si actori (Bucuresti: Editura Casa Scoalelor, 1944); Dragos Protopopescu, "Hamlet sau între istorie literara si estetica," Universul literar 3 (1926): 89; Raul Theodorescu, "Hamlet de Shakespeare," Ritmul vermii 8-9 (sept. 1926): 209; Florin Tornea, "Shakespeare pe scenele românesti de-a lungul vremii", Flacara 15 (1964); Tudor Vianu, "Shakespeare ca poet al Renasterii," Studii de literatura universala si comparata (Bucuresti: Editura Academiei, 1963): 57-71; "Shakespeare si antropologia Renasterii," Ibidem: 71-79; "Etapele bataliei shakespeariene," Ibidem: 405-413; "Umanitatea lui Shakespeare," Steaua 10 (Cluj, 1956): 85-93. [back]

[10] See Three Jacobean Tragedies. Edited with an Introduction by Gamini Salgado (London: Penguin, 1965, rpr. 1969): 17-19. [back]

[11] See Aurel Curtui, Hamlet în România: 12-19. The foreign theatrical companies producing Hamlet in Romania are: Kristoph Ludwig Seipp, Sibiu, 1788; Franz Xavier Felder, Sibiu, Timisoara, 1794-1795; Johan Gerger, Bucuresti, 1825; Ferenc Kazinczy, Cluj 1814-1829 and Târgu-Mures 1841; Ludwig Lowe, Sibiu, 1850; Ernesto Rossi, "National Theater," Bucuresti, 1877-1879; "Teatrul mare," Bucuresti,1861. For reviews of these productions see Mihai Eminescu "Spectacolele lui Rossi," Timpul (Bucuresti, 28 ian.1878): 3; P. Gradisteanu. "Teatrul national," Proprietarul român (Bucuresti, 7 apr. 1861): 96; Ion Slavici. "Rossi," Timpul (Bucuresti, 16 febr.1879): 2-3. [back]

[12] Mihail Pascally, Hamlet, Teatrul mare, Bucuresti, 1862. For reviews of this production see Se-Pu-Ki (B. P. Hasdeu), "Compania dramatica. Hamlet principele Danemarcei, tragedie în cinci acte de W. Shakespeare." Satyrul, 3 aprilie 1866, pp. 2-3. [back]

[13] Grigore Manolescu, Hamlet. Teatrul National, Bucuresti, 1884. For reviews of this production see Fra Dolce, "Hamlet la Teatrul National." România Libera, Oct. 7, 1884; "Hamlet la Teatrul National." Românul, Oct. 16, 1884; I.L. Caragiale, "Cronica teatrala." Vointa Nationala, 1885: 254. Grigore Manolescu, "Hamlet, amintiri de pe scena," Fântâna Blanduziei 1 (Bucuresti, 1888): 2; 14 (1889): 2; Petre Liciu."Grigore Manolescu în Hamlet," Gazeta artelor 23 (Bucuresti, 1903): 1; S.R Mihailescu-Stemi."Hamlet: Teatrul national," Revista societatii "Tinerimea româna" (Bucuresti, 1884): 371-376; Petrascu, N. "G. Manolescu," Literatura si arta româna (Bucuresti, 1898): 562-564. [back]

[14] Odette Blumenfeld, "Hamlet at the Craiova National Theater." Krystyna Kujawinska Courtney (ed), On Page and Stage: Shakespeare in Polish and World Culture (Kraków: Universitas): 198. [back]

[15] The chronological order of Romanian productions of Hamlet in this period is the following: Dragomir State, Hamlet, Iasi, 1902-1903; Constantin Nottara, Hamlet, Teatrul National, Bucuresti, 1912-13; Aristide Demetriade, Hamlet, Teatrul national, Bucuresti, 1912-13; Tony Bulandra, Hamlet, Teatrul national, Bucuresti, 1912-13; C. Marculescu, Hamlet, Teatrul National, Craiova, 1922-1923; Zaharia Bârsan, Hamlet, Teatrul national, Cluj, 1922-1923; Ion Manolescu, Hamlet, Teatrul national, Craiova, 1925. For reviews of these productions see Simion. Alterescu. "Nottara, un actor romantic - Nottara, un actor realist," Studii si cercetari de istoria artei 2 (Bucuresti, 1959): 175-181; I. C. Aslan. "Un triumf si o rasplata, Hamlet, cu Aristide Demetriade," Universul literar 1 (Bucuresti, 1913): 7; D. I. Anastasiu. "Scrisori din Craiova. Hamlet în prima seara. I. Manolescu interpreteaza Hamlet prima data," Rampa (Bucuresti, 1 feb. 1925): 2; Ioan Breazu. "Teatrul national clujean," Boabe de grâu (Bucuresti, 1932): 23-38; A. Calin. "Teatrul National. Hamlet," Rampa (Bucuresti, 24 ian. 1921): 5; "Hamlet cu Tony Bulandra si Almajan Buzescu," Rampa (Bucuresti, 18 nov. 1923): 5; E. D. Fagure. "Productiile scolii declamatoare - cronica dramatica," Adevarul (Bucuresti, 1 iul. 1901): 1; Rantea. "Teatrul national: Hamlet," Flacara (Bucuresti, 1922): 253-254; "Teatrul national, Hamlet cu Nottara," Rampa 23 (Bucuresti, 1922): 5; Serban, D. "Hamlet într-o noua montare scenica," Revista scriitoarelor si scriitorilor români 3 (Bucuresti, 1929): 44; Florica Simionescu. "Personalitatea lui Hamlet: Aristide Demetriade în acest rol," Revista idealista (Bucuresti, 1912): 284-292; Sandu Teleajen. "Teatrul national din Iasi," Boabe de grâu (Bucuresti, 1932): 521-565; D. Teodorescu. "Ciclul shakespearian," Rampa (Bucuresti, 25 ian.1925): 1. [back]

[16] George Calboreanu. Hamlet, Teatrul National, Bucuresti, 1941-1942; George Vraca. Hamlet, Teatrul National, Bucuresti, 1941-1942; V. Valentineanu. Hamlet, Teatrul National, Bucuresti, 1941-1942. For reviews of these productions see Traian Lalescu "Trei interpreti ai lui Hamlet," Universul literar 5 (Bucuresti, 1942): 2. [back]

[17] Theodor Manescu. "Manifestari artistice în detentie" [Art Forms in Detention], Teatrul 11 (1973): 41-43. [back]

[18] Marcela Ilnitchi. "Hamlet pe scena româneasca," Teatrul azi 7-8-9 (2000): 54 (my translation). George Cozorici. Hamlet, directed by Vlad Mugur, Teatrul National, Craiova, 1957-1958. For reviews of this production see Mircea Alessandrescu. "Un spectacol nuantat al unei piese de idei," Contemporanul 9 (1958): 81-84; Valentin Silvestru. "Curajul tineretii pe scena," Contemporanul 28 (Bucuresti, 1958): 4; "Shakespeare în România, 1944-1964, spectacole si interpreti," Contemporanul 17 (1964): 3; Florin Tornea. "Spre o imagine teatrala ," Tribuna 3 (1958): 9-12 [back]

[19] For an account of Hamlet's opposition of Christian Providence to pagan augury see Fredson Bowers, Hamlet as Minister and Scourge (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1989): 118-121. [back]

[20] Virgil Munteanu. "Hamlet de William Shakespeare," Teatrul 3 (1974): 41-3. See also Paul Cornel Chitic. "Decorul pentru Hamlet în spectacolul lui Dinu Cernescu" [The Sets for Hamlet in Dinu Cernescu's Production], Teatrul 4 (1974): 66-7; Richard Watkins. "Întâlnire cu Hamlet la Bucuresti," Contemporanul 12 (1974): 9. [back]

[21] For reviews of this opera see Luminita Vartolomei. "Introducere la Hamlet de Pascal Bentoiu," Teatru 9 (1975): 20-22; "Opera Româna din Bucuresti. Hamlet de Pascal Bentoiu," Teatru 10 (1975): 62-64. [back]

[22] Florian Potra, "Interferente . Fuziune de arte" [Interferences. Art fusion], Teatru 10 (1975): 65 [back]

[23] Scarlat, Nicolae, director. Hamlet. Translated into Romanian by Ion Vinea. Sets by Octavian Dibrov; costumes by Anca Pîslaru. Produced at the Tîrgu-Mures National Theater, May 5, 1983. [With Cornel Popescu (Hamlet), Valentina Iancu (Gertrude), Constantin Doljan (Claudius), Ana Maria Pislaru (Ophelia), Stefan Sileanu (Ghost), Constantin Sasareanu (Polonius), Cornel Raileanu (Laertes), Vlad Radescu (Horatio), Alexandru Fagarasan (Voltemand), Marius Oltean (Cornelius), Ion Ritiu (Rosencrantz), Dan Ciobanu (Guildenstern), Aurel Stefanescu (Osric), Radu Cazan (Francisco), Dan Glasu (Bernardo), Adrian Mazarache (Marcellus), Ion Costea (Fortinbras).]
For reviews of this production see Constantin Radu-Maria. Teatrul (Bucharest) 6 (1983): 23-26; Constantin Doljan. Teatrul (Bucharest) 4 (1983): 73. [back]

[24] Tocilescu, Alexandru, director. Hamlet. Translated into Romanian by Nina Cassian. Sets by Dan Jitianu, costumes by Uliana Mantoc and Nicolae Ularu, lighting by Laurence Clayton, and music by Dan Grigore. Produced at the Bulandra Theater, Bucharest, 1985-86; and on tour through 1990. [With Ion Caramitru (Hamlet), Valentin Uritescu and Ion Chelaru (Gravediggers), Florian Pitis (Laertes), Constantin Draganescu (Osric), Ion Lemnaru (Guildenstern), Gelu Colceag (Rosencrantz), Razvan Ionescu (Marcellus), Constantin Florescu (Claudius), Ion Cocieru (Barnardo), Florin Chiriac (Francisco), Claudiu Stanescu (Fortinbras), Constantin Grigorescu (Ghost, voice), Petre Gheorghiu (Player King), Mihaela Juvara (Player Queen), Mariana Buruiana (Ophelia), Ileana Predescu (Gertrude), Ion Besoiu and Octavian Cotescu (Polonius), Marcel Iures (Horatio), Nicolae Luchian Botez (Voltemand), and Mihai V. Boghita (Cornelius).]
For reviews of this production see Anon. România Literara 41 (1990): 16; Adrian Georgescu. "Spectacole Shakespeare." Teatrul (Bucharest) 4 (1983): 72; Victor Parhon. Teatrul (Bucharest) 3 (1983), 60; Laurentiu Ulici. "Hamlet pentru fiecare." Contemporanul 52 (1985): 11, and in Romanian Review 40, no. 5 (1986): 55-66 (in review-article); Ileana Berlogea. Romanian Review 40, no. 5 (1986): 55-66 (in review-article); "Oglinda vremurilor." Contemporanul 51 (1985): 10; Ion Caljon. România Literara 3 (1986): 14; Dumitru Chirila. "Hamlet la Teatrul Bulandra." Familia 2 (1986): 12-13; Valentin Dumitrescu. "Hamlet în cheia melancoliei." Viata Româneasca 2 (1986): 80-82; Nicoleta Gherghel. Luceafarul 2 (1986): 4; Miruna Ionescu. Romanian Review 40, no. 5 (1986): 55-66 (in review-article); Constantin Radu-Maria. "Shakespeare pe scena. Teatrul Bulandra, Hamlet." Teatrul 2 (1986): 29-33; Valentin Silvestru. Romanian Review 40, no. 5 (1986): 55-66 (in review-article); Natalia Stancu. Romanian Review 40, no. 5 (1986): 55-66 (in review-article); "Un print al teatrului." Contemporanul 51 (1985): 10-11; Ion Cocora. Tribuna 15 (1987): 9; Dinu Kivu. "Hamlet 101." Contemporanul 14 (1987): 9; R. Volodin. Izvestia (Moscow) 15 January 1987, p. 5; Mark Almond. TLS: The Times Literary Supplement 5-11 October 1990, p. 1069; Michael Billington. Guardian 22 September 1990, p. 21; Irina Coroiu. Romanian Review 44, no. 4 (1990): 110-25 (especially 114-15); Michael Coveney. Observer (London) 23 September 1990, p. 37; Nick Curtis. Plays and Players November 1990, p. 30; Richard Eyre. Guardian 13 September 1990 (advance account); Benedict Nightingale. The Times (London) 22 September 1990, p. 21; Ludmila Pantlanjoglu. România Literara 18 (1990): 24 (interview with R. Eyre on I. Caramitru); John Peter. Sunday Times (London) 23 September 1990, section 5, p. 4; Malcolm Rutherford. Financial Times (London) 22 September 1990, p. xxi; Milton Shulman. Evening Standard (London) 21 September 1990; Paul Taylor. The Independent 22 September 1990, p. 30; Irving Wardle. The Independent on Sunday 23 September 1990, p. 22; Matt Wolf. The Times (London) 20 September 1990, p. 23 (on I. Caramitru); Joan Byles Montgomery. Shakespeare Bulletin 9, no. 2 (1991): 25-26; Peter J. Smith. Cahiers élisabéthains 39 (1991): 71-73; Marin Sorescu. Secolul XX 319-21 (1991): 105-111. [back]

[25] Laurentiu Ulici. Contemporanul 52 (1985): 11. [back]

[26] Dinu Kivu, Contemporanul 14 (1987): 9. [back]

[27] Ludmila Pantajoglu, "Cu Richard Eyre, directorul Teatrului National din Londra, despre Hamlet la ora româneasca." România Literara 18 (1990): 24 (my translation). [back]

[28] Michael Billington, The Guardian, in "Hamlet-ul românesc în Anglia." România Literara 41 (1990): 16 (my translation). [back]

[29] Sapdaru, Ion, director. Hamlet. The "Mihai Eminescu" Theater, Botosani, 1998. Translated: Dan Dutescu and Leon Levitchi. Sets: Angela Doni. With Daniel Badale (Hamlet), Marius Rogojinschi (Claudius), Daniel Minciuna (Horatio), Irina Mititelu (Gertrude), Teodora Moraru, Volin Costin (Polonius), Florin Aionitoaiei (Laertes), Tatiana Zavialova (Ophelia), Cezar Amitroaiei (Rozencrantz), Mihai Paunescu (Guildenstern). For reviews of this production see Cristina Modreanu. "Anti-Hamletul zilelor noastre" ["An Anti-Hamlet of Our Days"]. Teatrul Azi 7-8-9 (1999): 65. [back]

[30] Tompa, Gábor, director. Hamlet. Translated into Romanian by Nina Cassian, Petru Dumitriu, Ion Vinea, Vladimir Streinu, Leon Levitchi, and Dan Dutescu. Sets by Theodor Ciupe, costumes by Judith Kóthay Dobre, and music by Iosif Hertea. Produced at the National Theater, Craiova, in collaboration with Offshore International Cultural Projects, Amsterdam, beginning 5 January 1997. [With Adrian Pintea (Hamlet), Mihai Constantin (Claudius), Ilie Gheorghe (Polonius), Valeriu Dogaru (Horatio), Adrian Andone (Laertes), Angel Rababoc (Marcellus), Tudorel Petrescu (Bernardo), Natasa Raab (Rosencrantz), Valentin Mihail (Guildenstern), Constantin Cicort (Osric), Oana Pellea (Gertrude), Ozana Oancea (Ophelia), Ion Colan (Ghost, Player King), Gabriela Baciu (Player Queen)]
Reviews: Ion Remus Andrei. Luceafarul 26 (1997): 18; Maria Constantinescu. România Literara 3 (1997): 16; Alice Georgescu. "Fetele oglinzii sau cine este Hamlet?" Victor Parhon. "Hamlet la sfârtit de mileniu." Teatrul Azi 3 (1997): 5-9. Ion Bogdan Lefter. România Literara 49 (1997): 16; Costache Olareanu. Adevarul Literar si Artistic 370 (1997): 4; Victor Parhon: Teatrul Azi 3 (1997): 5-8; Carmen Tudora. Adevarul Literar si Artistic 368 (1997): 7. [back]

[31] Remus Andrei Ion, "Hamlet-ul lui Tompa." Luceafarul 26 (1997): 18 (my translation) [back].

[32] Incidentally, I have noticed that the same artifice has been used in the 1997 RSC Hamlet directed by Matthew Warchus with Alex Jennings in the title role. For a review of this production see Cynthia Marshall, "Sight and Sound: Two Models of Shakespearean Subjectivity on the British Stage." Shakespeare Quarterly 51 (Fall 2000): 353-61. [back]

[33] Victor Parhon. "Hamlet la sfârsit de mileniu." Teatrul Azi 3 (1997): 7 (my translation). [back]

[34] Carmen Tudora. Adevarul Literar si Artistic 368 (1997): 7 (my translation). [back]

[35] Ciulei, Liviu, director. Hamlet. Produced at the "Bulandra" Theater, Bucharest, June 2000. Translation: Nina Cassian. Sets: Architect Octavian Neculai. Costume: Nina Brumusila. Music: Ildiko Fogarassy Fogarassy [With: Marcel Iures (Hamlet), Dan Astilean/Victor Rebenciug (Claudius), Valeria Seciu (Gertrude), Ion Cocieru (Ghost), Ion Pavlescu (Polonius), Adriana Titieni (Ophelia), Stefan Banica jr. (Laertes), Andrei Aradits (Horatio), Razvan Vasilescu (Rozencranz), Cornel Scripcaru (Guildenstern), Mihai Constantin (Gravedigger), Vlad Zamfirescu (Fortinbras), Valentin Popescu (Voltimand), Mihai Cibu (Cornelius), Serban Pavlu (Marcellus), Gheorghe Ifrim (Bernardo), Costel Cascaval (Francesco), Petre Lupu (Osric), Razvan Savescu (Reinaldo), Irina Petrescu (Dumb Show Queen).]
For reviews of this production see Magdalena Boiangiu. "Poate ca Prospero a obosit" [Maybe Prospero is getting tired]. Adevarul Literar si Artistic 528 (2000) < http://adevarul.kappa.ro/lit528-01.html> Magdalena Boiangiu. "Forma si limitele vremii" ["The whips and scorns of time"]. România Literara 28 (2000) < www.romlit.sfos.ro/www/texte00/rl28/tea.htm> Manuela Golea. " La Bulandra este din nou Shakespeare" [Shakespeare at "Bulandra" Again]. Ziua, June 22 (2000) <http://www.ziua.ro/archive/pag1/2000-06/000622.html> Marcela Ilnitchi. "Prospero dând viata lui Hamlet" [Prospero Giving Life to Hamlet]. Teatrul azi 7-8-9 (2000): 48-56; Marcel Iures. "Hamlet se multiplica la nivel universal" [Hamlet Multiplies on Universal Scale]. Teatrul azi 7-8-9 (2000): 43-7. [back]

[36] Magdalena Boiangiu. "Forma si limitele vremii" ["The whips and scorns of time"]. România Literara 28 (2000) < www.romlit.sfos.ro/www/texte00/rl28/tea.htm> (my translation). [back]

[37] Cristina Modreanu. "Calatorii initiatice în prag de nou mileniu. Festivalul National de Teatru -2000" Adevarul Literar si Artistic 545 (2000) < http://adevarul.kappa.ro/lit545-03.htm> (my translation). [back]

[38] Stephen Greenblatt. "Hamlet în Purgatoriu" [Hamlet in Purgatory"]. Translated by Sorana Corneanu. Dilema No.356, 357, 358 (December, 1999). <http://www.algoritma.ro/dilema/fw.htm?current=379/index.htm> [back]


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