Tragedy Turns Comedy in FC's Rendition of 'Hamlet

Fullerton College Hornet  - Vanessa DeRuyter - Monday, October 24th, 1994

Although portrayed more like a comedy than a tragedy, the production of William Shakespeare's "Hamlet" by Fullerton College's Theater Arts Department proved to be a crowd-pleaser.

Under the direction of Pamela Richarde, instructor at FC, the production came to life emphasizing a lighter side to the usual sad and melancholic atmosphere customary of Shakespeare's tragedies.

This was most apparent in Hamlet's character.

Andrew Pinon plays the young prince of Denmark trying to take revenge on his uncle Claudius, played by Michael Martin, for the "most foul" murder of his father, the king.

Pinon's performance is filled with humorous interludes, in which he mocks other character's intent belief that he is insane.

Even in "Hamlet's" most famous soliloquy, "To be or not to be, ... "Pinon's lack of dramatization undermines the frustration and confusion the prince wrestles with when deciding if his revenge will make him as evil as his father's murderer.

Humor was heavily incorporated in the role of Polonius, the royal court's servant, played by Gavin Carlton. Unlike Pinon's Hamlet, Carlton's witty portray!ll of the babbling servant always telling others what to do makes the play as light-hearted as it needs to be.

Hamlet's mother Gertrude, the queen who marries Claudius one month after the king's death, was performed with warmth by Lisa Rohr. The tenderness and concern she put into the role was beautiful and as realistically as if a mother had acquired the spotlight.

Rohr's detail to character was most evident in the last scene when a proud Gertrude proposed a toast to Hamlet, the sip which brings her demise.

Any play devoid of a heroine is not complete. In tHs case, the heroine is Ophelia, the daughter of Polonius and Hamlet's· true love. This character was played by Kimberly Jones, who gave the role life but did not make it stand out.

Jones' character became insane after Hamlet murdered her father, mistaking him for Claudius. This scene was not given enough passion by the actress. Ophelia's mourning seemed more like the whimpering of a child, not that of one just gone mad.

Although the manner in which most of the production was portrayed took away from the dark qualities traditional of Shakespearean works, the audience seemed to enjoy the performance, laughing at each prank the· director added to the play. '

Though the production was mordant at times, the morbid sense of the play was lost in the interpretation.