Hamlet: The Notes (Kâté Braydon)

In Review: 404Strand’s Hamlet: The Notes

You are no longer the audience, but the cast and crew of Theatre of Distortion’s production of Hamlet. The show has had its first run, and now it’s time for the director’s notes.

Hamlet: The Notes, written and conceived by Dan Jemmett, written and performed by John Fitzgerald Jay, is your invitation to experience the inner workings of the theatre. You mayn’t believe that this could possibly be an accurate depiction of what a director goes through in order to have his cast bring a production to life, but if the immediate bursts of laughter from local directors in the audience are any indication, it is clear that it hits close to home. Regardless of your own experience with Hamlet or the theatre itself, there is no reason not to appreciate the depths to which this director will descend in his effort to communicate, demonstrate and enact all the possible improvements needed to make the show catch fire.

John Fitzgerald Jay during rehearsal of Hamlet: The Notes. (Kâté Braydon)
John Fitzgerald Jay during rehearsal of Hamlet: The Notes. (Kâté Braydon)

Jay is brilliant as he engages with the audience, bringing both Hamlet and its cast to life. You may find yourself playing Claire, the stage manager, Jason, the TV actor, or the young starlet, Sam. But don’t worry — in this case, the director is the one doing all the performing. You may find yourself wondering what on earth you’ve gotten yourself into, but only for a moment, for the ease with which Jay transitions from psychotic rant to eloquent monologue and back is truly mesmerizing.

The wonder and magic of the theatre is revealed — nay, exposed — in this one-of-a-kind creation. Hopefully it will inspire further appreciation, and perhaps empathy, for each actor, crew member and director you cross paths with from here on out. This is no mere exaggeration, but a life-size portrayal of the ridiculous, sometimes obscene, and extremely vulnerable process that must be gone through during each production — to the benefit of the audience.

(Kâté Braydon)
(Kâté Braydon)

While it may do a fine job of scaring away the fainthearted from any inkling they may have had of entering the glamorous life of theatre, you may well find yourself inspired by the array of critiques and complements the director will throw your way.

Should Hamlet: The Notes be part of your Saturday night plans, be prepared to experience an array of emotions ranging anywhere from bewilderment to pure joy. For Hamlet lovers and novices alike, it is truly a hilariously touching production that demonstrates the pendulum of human nature. It will leave you in awe and wondering why on earth any sane person would ever put themselves through the absolute turmoil that is the theatre. The answer? They would be insane not to. For it is in theatre that the truths of life are realized — that, in the midst of ill-conceived pop culture references, over-the-top enactments of poisoning and vernacular displays of emotion, we are all simply seeking understanding and will go to great lengths to do so.

Hamlet: The Notes is playing September 26th at 7:30PM at the BMO Studio Theatre.

(Kâté Braydon)
(Kâté Braydon)

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