2013 Toronto Fringe Festival: Teaching Hamlet

A didactically droll two-hander

Written by Keir Cutler
Directed by Paul Hopkins
Performed by Brett Watson and Keir Cutler

Brett Watson and Keir Culter in Teaching Hamlet.

Keir Cutler’s highly acclaimed two-man show Teaching Hamlet (dir. Paul Hopkins) is a delightful meditation on modern notions of authenticity and identity, brimming with insight, social satire and laughs. The play debuted to rave reviews at the 2011 Montreal Fringe Festival, where it was runner-up for Best English Production, and was given five stars at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, where it was described as “intelligent, witty and well-acted.” It is currently playing at the Robert Gill theatre as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival.

Teaching Hamlet centres around Joe (Cutler), a decidedly cerebral academic consumed by a desire to prove that Shakespeare was in fact the Earl of Oxford, and Conner Hamilton (Brett Watson), the celebrated Shakespearean actor Joe has hired to promote his peculiar cause in a video destined for YouTube. The play consists of an hour-long verbal sparring match between this unlikely duo, peppered with homages to the Bard. Cutler’s script masterfully juxtaposes the world of academia with the entertainment industry, suggesting that in the age of public relations, the two industries are not as different as they might appear. Though Joe’s and Connor’s backgrounds, motivations and methods are vastly different, it soon becomes clear that they are both after the same endto get what they want at any cost. The inherent narcissism of both characters acts as the perfect catalyst for Cutler’s satirical take on the epidemic of self-aggrandizement characteristic of the information age. The play’s stripped down aestheticonly a chair and camera tripod adorn the stage throughoutperfectly sets off the witty, psychologically complex script, and the duo’s compelling performances.

Teaching Hamlet runs until July 13 at the Robert Gill Theatre. Visit fringetoronto.com for more information.


Show Dates: 
Fri, 2013-07-05 - Sat, 2013-07-13
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