British playwright Steven Berkoff speculates that Hamlet’s cavalier treatment of the smitten Ophelia was really a ruse to cloak their torrid affair. In his 2001 two-hander, The Secret Life of Ophelia, the pair exchange steamy love letters in which they express their erotic and frustrated passion.
"You’re a pipe I’d love to play," Ophelia writes ardently. The title character is performed by Vancouver’s Alicia Novak, whose real-life lover, Darren Boquist, plays the Prince of Denmark. Both are very capable in this text-heavy drama which drags occasionally.
Director Jeremy Waller deserves kudos for creating some visual stimulus. He has his cast wheel around spotlights to tighten the focus on the lovers and creates a cool moment in which Ophelia appears to be dragging Hamlet around the stage on an invisible string.
(Review by Kevin Prokosh based on Montreal performance)
From the official Fringe program:
Sex, lust, love, politics, scandals, murder, deceit, betrayal and devotion are a few of the many layers depicted in Steven Berkoff’s award-winning script. Revealing new insights into Ophelia and Hamlet’s relationship from courtship to ultimate tragedy.
Innovative director Jeremy Waller perfectly casts on- and off-stage lovers Alicia Novak and Darren Boquist in this beautifully poetic and visually spectacular piece of theatre.
Warnings: Subject Matter,
RECOMMENDED: Mature Audience
Venue#4 Onstage at the Playhouse 180 Market Ave (Entrance on John Hirsch Pl)
Under 10 not admitted.