Act before you speak

Act before you speak

The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

By William Shakespeare & Alexandra Zelman-Doring.
In collaboration with Ada Gafter-O’Higgins & Jeffrey Landman

The Flea Theater

A translation of Hamlet into the aphasiac intensity of grief, love, revenge and madness.

There are two women and a violinist on stage. They are friends or lovers, children or parents. They are bemused and viscous, vexed and fervid. They are Hamlet, Guildenstern, Ophelia, Gertrude and Horatio. They are ghosts and gravediggers. Their actions speak their thoughts; their speech is sublimated into presence and response. In Act Before You Speak, the two women and the violinist perform Hamlet in 70 minutes, without speaking a word.

Original score composed by Jiří Kadeřábek, Mahir Çetiz, and Ana Milosavljevic.
Premiered in the United States at The Flea Theater in New York City, August 2012.

“A lovely little darkling rite – half dance, half pantomime – that reimplants the Melancholy Dane in what the gender studies crowd refers to as ‘female space’, but what off-Broadway connoisseurs simply call Black Box heaven.” Scott Brown, New York Magazine

”In physical terms that eschew words for a rare form of high theatricality that translates music and movement into storytelling.

Director Hedvig Claesson keeps everything so visual and kinetic — and short — that the play neither wears out its novelty of expression nor does it push beyond the experimental into the precious. Of course, the idea of Shakespeare without words seems like a trepidatious undertaking, but there is something honest and intrinsically artful in this work that makes it compelling.” Barbara Siegel, Scott Siegel, Theater Mania

By William Shakespeare & Alexandra Zelman-Doring In collaboration with Ada Gafter-O’Higgins & Jeffrey Landman Original score composed by Jiří Kadeřábek, Mahir Çetiz and Ana Milosavljevic Directed by Hedvig Claesson Performed by Alexandra Zelman-Doring, Marie Godeau and Ana Milosavljevic Set design and costumes by Jeff Landman Lighting design by Isabella Byrd