Max Berry, Contributing Critic - New York City
The Potomac Theater Project embraces their loony side with this production of Doggs Hamlet Cahoot’s Macbeth by Tom Stoppard, bringing life and heart to characters living in a world seemingly far more strange than our own.
The actors navigated the seemingly bizarre language of Dogg very well, not only allowing us to see what they were saying for ourselves, but it was clear they took great care in understanding and immersing themselves in the language. They took to the new speech with an ease that many do not have with their own language. Treating the lunacy with respect rather than treating it as lunacy. They truly lived in the reality of the language.
This understanding of language is not limited to the fictional language of Dogg. When the actors begin performing Hamlet (albeit a very quick version), they must add the second layer of playing someone who doesn't speak a language reading lines from a play that is already difficult for those of us that do. This is also very well done. The comedic timing of these actors was great and a real joy to see. Once again, they took this performance of Hamlet completely seriously despite it being so easy to make it a joke. This is where the humor is at its best.
In Cahoot’s Macbeth we see another side of Tom Stoppard’s lunacy that is much more rooted in a frightening reality of people having to perform Shakespear’s plays in secret, as we see a group of players performing Macbeth for an audience of working class individuals (the audience). This is repeatedly interrupted by a police inspector. While the play within a play is still humorous in many ways, condensing Macbeth into a short play, it’s the moments of interruption where we really see this play shine. It’s slightly startling at first, having just been given so much nonsensical action, but the actors navigate the two worlds beautifully.
I very much enjoyed this production and this was in large part due to how seriously both plays were taken in every moment. This led to a very honest production in a world that could have very easily been made a joke. Instead, I found myself wondering if our world was in fact, the strange one.
Doggs Hamlet, Cahoots Macbeth was directed by Cheryl Faraone
It features Matthew Ball, Denise Cormier, Tara Giordano,Christo Grabowski, Christopher Marshall , Peter B. Schmitz, Lucy Van Atta , Olivia Christie, Will Koch, Emily Ma, Katie Marshall, Madeleine Russell, Lior Selve, Zach Varicchione and Connor Wright.
With set design by Mark Evancho
Lighting design by Hallie Zieslman
Sound Design by Ellery Rhodes
Costume Design (Dogg’s Hamlet) by Chris Romagnoli. Costume Design (Cahoot’s Macbeth) by Rbecca Lafon.
The show runs at The Atlantic Stage 2 (330 West 16th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues) July 17th-August 3rd. Tuesdays - Sundays at 7pm, Saturdays - Sundays at 2pm, and select Wednesdays and Thursdays at 2pm. Schedule varies. For more information visit http://PTPNYC.org. See also the 2019 PTP/NYC promo video trailer: https://youtu.be/bpZ5w-L3Txo.