Reduced Shakespeare: "One Ham Manlet" is Serious Fun

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If you only see one one-man Hamlet this season, make it One Ham Manlet. It's a joy for Shakespeare lovers, but also a fantastic entry point for skeptics, who think they should know a little something about the celebrated tragedy, but can't bring themselves to commit to the full four-hour show.

At 90-minutes Ryan Kathman's Manlet isn't an enormous time investment, and will leave many theater lovers wanting more. That's pretty much the definition of success.

Kathman, who developed, and stars in this solo tour de force had me from the show's opening when he... Dammit!

To say what he did would give it away and spoil the fun. This makes it difficult to talk about without letting a lot of cats out of their respective bags. So instead of getting too deep into it, I'm going to link back to this preview. It tells you just about everything you need to know about a funny, thoughtful, loving and somewhat irreverent take on the original man in black.

Good theatre of any kind results from good problem solving. Few things present more problems than doing Hamlet on a relative shoestring with a cast of one. One Ham Manlet's a solid primer in how to make theater theatrical, and take advantage of commercial theater's most underrated tools — audience imagination.

I'd see this one again, if I could.


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