Mad Cat Theatre’s ‘THE HAMLET DOG AND PONY SHOW’

THE HAMLET DOG AND PONY SHOW

WRITTEN BY JESSICA FARR AND PAUL TEI

AND DIRECTED BY PAUL TEI

Pictured: Troy Davidson as Hamlet. Photo Credit: Steve Anthony.

The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse

JULY 26, 2012 TO AUGUST 12, 2012

Wrapping up Mad Cat Theatre Company’s 12th season, is yet another World Premiere, this time a play written by Jessica Farr and Paul Tei.  The Hamlet Dog and Pony Show is a deconstruction of Shakespeare’s tragedy, “Hamlet”.   Their take not only allows the age old question “To be or not to be” but contemplates whether or not the question is even still valid in today’s hypermodern society. Through the use of music, multimedia and puppetry, The Hamlet Dog and Pony Show, directed by Paul Tei, is a tragedy of errors that remains in dialogue with the dead in order to build a method for which to go on living.

Players are:  Ken Clement*, Troy Davidson*, Giordan Diaz, Jessica Farr, Carey Brianna Hart, Christopher A. Kent, Emilie Paap, Theo Reyna and Brian Sayre, and with voice of James Samuel Randolph as the Ghost of Hamlet’s father.

Designs by:  Matt Corey (Sound), Melissa Santiago Keenan (Lights), Leslye Menshouse (Costumes) and Sean McClelland (Scenic).

Tickets are on sale now. Preview Night July 26 – $15, Opening Night July 27 – $40 (with food & drink); thereafter General Admission Tickets $30 and Student $15 (with valid ID).  Applicable service charges apply.  Tickets may be purchased online at www.madcattheatre.org  OR https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/32115 OR by calling OvationTix at 866.811.4111.

About the Playwrights and Director

JESSICA FARR (Co-Playwright) is a graduate of Fordham University and Miami’s NWSA.  New York Credits: THE MAIDS, INSECURITY! The Musical, APATHY! The Gen-X Musical. Los Angeles credits: ASTRAL DICK, GOING GREEN THE WONG WAY.  Miami credits: EVERYTHING WILL BE DIFFERENT, TERMINAL BAGGAGE and SHINING CITY.  She is also the author of Carmen In Three Acts, and her one woman show Call Me, Catwoman.

Paul Tei (Co-Playwright and Director):

Paul Tei is the founder and Artistic Director of Mad Cat Theatre Company.  Since its humble origins in the fall of 2000, Mad Cat has been providing South Florida audiences with an opportunity to engage in the type of low budget/high value theatre usually associated with Chicago, L.A.’s theatre row, and off off Broadway. He has directed over 70 productions and his work has been seen from Miami to San Francisco, LA to New York.  He wrote the plays SO MY GRANDMOTHER DIED, BLAH BLAH BLAH,  RPM, ARTFUL DODGERS and he is the co-author of HELLUVA HALLOWEEN, SHEPHERD’S PIE, HERE IN MY CAR and TERMINAL BAGGAGE.  A member of the Screen Actors Guild/AFTRA Paul has appeared in several films, several national commercials and has guest starred on the TV shows CSI Miami, CSI, Going to California, Franklin & Bash and most notably his recurring roles on USA’s Burn Notice as Barry the money launderer and on Disney’s Zeke & Luther as Eddie Coletti.  Paul received his MFA in directing at The Theatre School at De Paul University and his BA in Theatre from Barry University.  He currently resides in LA.

I recently had a chance to ask the playwrights and director more about the play. This is what they said:

EA-What does Hamlet’s famed line mean in today’s world? Or to
today’s audience?

J: A question of existential being rings true today, as always,
however, it is layered under so much falsity that it becomes hidden
to prevent it’s own transparency. It’s the vulnerability of the
individual question that scares us and, ultimately, the possibility
of the wrong answer. To be? To be what? What is available to us
within our current state of democracy- and what can lead us to a
better answer for ourselves?

P: To live or not to live would be the literal translation. That could
be interpreted in many ways today, to be something great or not,
to be something popular, heroic, someone who instills change
or follows the crowd. I think in our play Hamlet hasn’t had to
ask himself that question until the ghost of his father tells him
that Claudius has killed him. For the first time ever he has to be
someone other than just Hamlet. He has utility. The idea that we
may get to coast through our lives ends when an event happens that
demands something greater, an accident, say, or a revenge plot,
that instills responsibility. Am I going to accept the challenges that
life throws at me or am I going to ignore them and stay asleep in
my denial? It’s about owning up to that responsibility.

EA-Why this take on Hamlet?
J: We not only used Shakespeare’s Hamlet within this
deconstruction but also Hamletmachine by Heiner Muller. We
wanted to update this classic work by not simply inserting the text
into a new context, or by creating an adaptation of sorts. Instead,
we wanted to reassess the important messages behind the piece and
add in the “never before seen” scenes as well as create a new way
of “selling” it to audiences within our current day matters.

P: Yeah, I didn’t want us to do Hamlet just for the sake of doing
Hamlet. We wanted to explore the themes of the play and what
it means to be Hamlet meanwhile demonstrating this from a
contemporary American point of view. I wouldn’t call this
production Hamlet, it’s its own show.

EA-What would Shakespeare say about this rendition?

J: Shakespeare would say- “Is this my play? Why, it has a b*** lift!”

P: I think Shakespeare would probably ask “How’s that doing at
the box office?” And if we said “Bad”, He’d disapprove. If Heiner
Muller asked the same question and we said “Badly”, he would
approve.

EA-What cool collaborations were new to the theatre group on this
production?

J: A new collaboration was Paul and I as co-playwrights. We
didn’t think it was possible, but through trial and error the process
began to really flow into what we have now. Working with Carey
and Chris as newcomers was an excitement, as well as having
the opportunity to work with Jim Randolph who was a real treat.
Overall, we’ve got a great, talented crew and we’re excited for
everyone to come and have a taste of this smorgasbord.

P: We threw a lot of ideas out there and concepts so the DNA of
our play will be an amalgamation of the people who are involved
in the project. From Hindu Mantras to Dada to Noam Chomsky
to Rick Santorum, to our group’s participants new and old, this
life-form should be a kind of it’s own and I’m curious to how the
audience will view our monster.

ABOUT MAD CAT THEATRE COMPANY

Mad Cat Theatre Company was founded in Miami in the fall of 2000 by actor/director/writer Paul Tei. Its mission remains the same to this day: to create something new that’s exciting for you, us and them.  A core group of designers and actors with one artistic director and twelve years later with 31 productions under its belt, Mad Cat is still clawing its way into the cultural consciousness of the citizens of Miami with original works such as “Shepherd’s Pie”, “Here in my Car”, “Tin Box Boomerang”, “Artful Dodgers”, “Terminal Baggage”, “Mixtape”, “Viva Bourgeois” and “Going Green the Wong Way” mixed with their renditions of previous produced play such as “70 Scenes of Halloween”, “Matt & Ben”, “Mr. Marmalade”, “Animals & Plants” and “Some Girls(s)”.  Mad Cat has brought originality, vitality and bite to everything they have done.  They’ve received rave reviews and have been decorated with such accolades as best new works, best productions, best fringe theatre, best ensembles, best designers, best director from folks from the Miami Herald, the Sun Sentinel, the Miami New Times and the Sun Post, plus a sprinkle of Carbonell awards, but its the respect and return engagement of its fan base that makes Mad Cat purr. For information on Mad Cat visit www.madcattheatre.org

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