January 2006

Hamlet (Solo) | by William Shakespeare
performed by Raoul Bhaneja | directed by Robert Ross Parker
January 10 – 21, 2006Theatre Passe MurailleToronto
Him, Himself, and He
by David Fujino
"What a lot of work!" exclaimed a man in the audience.

"What a piece of work!", I thought, as Bhaneja — who had just played the world famous Hamlet the Prince of Denmark, plus Queen Gertrude, Polonious, Ophelia, Horatio, Laertes, and the gravedigger, plus 9? or 10? other characters for two hours — graciously took two well-deserved bows.

Raoul Bhaneja played this whole play and its characters with exemplary craft and feeling. He kept it simple, and clear, and understated.

There were no physical props –– just the actor's instruments — his voice(s), his face, body and hands.

When he wasn't acting from the black-floored stage, Bhaneja leaned into and clutched at the three black brick walls. He spoke from the upstairs and downstairs exits, occasionally the steps, and even declaimed his lines from the narrow balcony at stage left.

But the real subject this night was Bhaneja's acting and his easeful love of Shakespeare.

His Hamlet literally lived and sat among us, and credit for such inventive direction is surely due Robert Ross Parker.

Having said this, Bhaneja's voice for Ophelia was arguably the one uncomfortable caricature in his impressive gallery of characters.

This Hamlet was mostly self-contained, yet emotionally alive.

Raoul Bhaneja
This Hamlet even announced for us, "Intermission", and then announced "Blackout", at play's end.
We welcome your comments and feedback
David Fujino
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