About This Clip
Mala Voadora is well known in Portugal for the way it questions theatrical mechanisms, which is why it usually chooses contemporary texts over a classical repertoire. For their first Shakespeare, the company asked Fernando Villas Boas, one of Portugal’s main translators of the author, to write a version of Hamlet’s First Quarto (also called the “bad quarto”), which had not been previously translated. The text was then cut and adapted for the stage with some changes (lines of Hamlet were included and minor scenes were rewritten so as to create an organic whole). The first part of the show takes place around a table which occupies the stage, illustrating how “The funeral baked meats / Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables” (3.2.178-180), in what seems to be a rather conservative way of staging Shakespeare. But the most spectacular segment of the show is yet to appear; it takes place when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern announce the actors’ arrival to Elsinore (38:00). At this time, a gigantic set design that mirrors the theater is lowered, creating an impressive mise en abyme. The audience sees several images within images – the optical illusion of a deepened perspective -, which gives the impression of an expanded downstage. José Capela’s Droste effect helps to question Hamlet’s theatricality: the play follows the text, but the set design problematizes it. Interestingly, in this case, reality and fiction, quotation and stealing are intertwined; given that someone accused Capela of plagiarism without realizing the pun being played. After all, Hamlet himself is stealing from The Murder of Gonzago, and using this play-within-the-play to probe the conscience of the King.
Cast and Crew
Translation and dramaturgical support: Fernando Villas-Boas
Assistant director: David Cabecinha
Set design: José Capela
Photography: José Carlos Duarte
Costume design: José Capela
Light design: Daniel Worm D’Assumpção
Original music: Rui Lima and Sérgio Martins
Actors: Anabela Almeida, Carla Bolito, Carlos António, David Cabecinha, David Pereira Bastos, João Vicente, João Villas-Boas, Jorge Andrade, Manuel Moreira, Marco Paiva
Coreographical support: Marco da Silva Ferreira
Production: Manuel Poças and Joana Costa Santos
Assistant manager / production: Vânia Rodrigues
Production notes provided by Maria Sequeira Mendes, Assistant Professor, School of Arts and Humanities – University of Lisbon.