Press - July 31, 2011

Hamlet Banquet

Hamlet, Act 1, incl. 4-course gala dinner
The Window, Jewish Theater of Austria

The invitation to a Hamlet Banquet at The Window came from the Jewish Theater of Austria. The large shop window in the adapted apartment house of the 7th District offered a bi-directional view of the long banquet table both to and from the street outside.

The evening opened with video sequences describing the play. Then, all the roles of the complete text of Act 1 were performed in English by Warren Rosenzweig. Each scene was followed by the next course of the dinner.

During a closing round with Warren Rosenzweig, the director of the Jewish Theater of Austria, questions about the concept and style of the performance were discussed. The evening was part of the five-year production process, "A Bodiless Creation Ecstasy", which explores, on alternating dates, the Shakespearean characters Hamlet and Shylock. Anyone who is interested may participate on the last Sunday of each month. The works are examined primarily in the original versions.

With this production, the Theater of Responsibilty reveals its open creative process and points the way to non-subsidized theater. Here, character and community share a commitment of social responsibility. In Vienna, for example, it seems particularly appropriate to scrutinize the historical consequences of the stereotyped Jew of The Merchant of Venice.

In 2016, on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, a full staging of the plays will reflect the work of the five-year process. We can look forward to the developments ahead.

Kerstin Zimmermann, 2011