About the Show
Hamlet (solo) is a unique retelling of one of Shakespeare's most beloved classics adapted and performed by celebrated actor Raoul Bhaneja.
Directed by Brooklyn based OBIE Award Winner Robert Ross Parker, the production has received rave reviews across Canada, in the UK from top entertainment papers THE LIST and THE STAGE and recently in the USA from NYTHEATRE.COM and BACKSTAGE.
This thrilling evening focuses on the three most essential elements of theatre: The Actor, The Text and The Audience. This production is best described as "bare bones" in its presentation with Bhaneja playing seventeen parts in a two-hour version using only Shakespeare's text.
In describing his one-man version of Hamlet, Bhaneja says, "For many of us, our most powerful experience with the play Hamlet occurred on our first reading of it - outside of the theatre - where we, alone, had to conjure up the setting, characters and drama. With this production, the audience is guided through the actual text, almost in the way an ancient storyteller might do, where the actor/storyteller provides an outline of a character upon which the viewer extrapolates."
Raoul Bhaneja is an accomplished National Theatre School graduate, Gemini and Canadian Comedy Award nominee. Bhaneja's theatre credits include The Stratford Shakespeare Festival's Rice Boy, Canadian Stage's The Cosmonauts Last Message..., Tarragon Theatre's Wide Awake Hearts, Bashir Lazhar, House of Many Tongues, Helen's Necklace and The Domino Heart; Hamlet for Neptune Theatre and seasons with Soulpepper Theatre and The Blyth Festival. In 2002, he was awarded The Christopher Plummer Fellowship and was a member of the International Company at Shakespeare's Globe in London. He has amassed over 75 Canadian and US on camera credits working with everyone from Atom Egoyan and Sarah Polley to Michael Douglas and Michelle Williams. An accomplished musician, his band Raoul and The Big Time was selected by Toronto's NOW Magazine as Best Blues Artist and has released four recordings since 2000.
Robert Ross Parker is a BFA Concordia and MFA Ohio University graduate who makes his home in New York where he is the co-artistic director of the Obie winning Vampire Cowboys. For Vampire Cowboys he has directed Vampire Cowboy Trilogy, A Beginner’s Guide to Deicide, Living Dead in Denmark, Men of Steel, Fight Girl/Battle World, Soul Samurai, and Alice in Slasherland. For the VC Saturday Night Saloon series he wrote Jimmy Starshooter Must Get Laid, and Radio Monster Theatre: The Further Adventures of Henry and Victor. Other recent directing credits include Goodbye Cruel World (also adapter, Roundtable Ensemble), and numerous projects for Ensemble Studio Theatre where he was a young director in residence. As an actor, Robert played the title role in The Flying Machine’s Frankenstein at Soho Rep, and on tour, and played the March Hare in their production of Alice in Wonderland. Until recently he was the editor of The Dramatist, the Journal of the Dramatists Guild of America.
Please visit Raoul's website at www.raoulbhaneja.com/hamletsolo
Hamlet (solo) opened January 4, 2006 at Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto for an extended run and later went on to be performed in New York, The Banff Centre for the Arts and Montreal, where it won the 2006 Montreal English Critics award for Best Visiting Production.
Since it premiered Hamlet (solo) has been presented at various theatres throughout North America, including: The Globe Theatre in Regina, SK, The Neptune Theatre in Halifax, NS, The Grand Theatre in London, ON and Centre Stage in New York, NY. It has also been performed at numerous festivals including the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Montreal New Classical Theatre Festival, The Edmonton Fringe Festival, the Uno Festival in Victoria, BC, the SoloNova Festival in NY, and the All for One Festival in NY (Off Broadway).
For information regarding Licensing and/or Production availability for Hamlet (solo) please use our contact page.
"5/5 Stars...Almost before he can take a bow his audience have leaped from their seats in a standing ovation. The tale may be an old one but Parker and Bhaneja's talents have injected a freshness and urgency that is as sparkling as it is appreciated."
- THE LIST (UK)
"A MUST SEE...This is, of course, an extraordinary technical achievement, both of memory and stamina, but it is much more than that. Bhaneja is a superb speaker of Shakespearean verse, making every line clear and conversational, so that whatever minor difficulties a neophyte might have in following the plot with only one actor there, no one will get lost in Shakespeare's syntax or poetry. This is a production of Hamlet that many full companies could envy for its speed, clarity and theatricality."
- THE STAGE (UK)
"A surprisingly enthralling production...An astoundingly sure-footed, brilliantly edited performance, most striking is the ever-present clarity of language."
- BACKSTAGE (USA)
"This is riveting. Hamlet (solo) offers up the essence of Shakespeare's brilliance, an opportunity to bathe in the Bard's wildly inventive language and, in Bhaneja's skilled hands, its ability to convey the nuance and range of human emotion."
- NYTHEATRE.COM (USA)
"A remarkable feat of memory and sustained speech - there was never any doubt that we were going to give Bhaneja a standing ovation at the end."
- THE BIRMINGHAM POST (UK)
"Bhaneja is an outstanding performer who owns every inch of the space, and carries the sense of the play with passion and conviction."
- EDINBURGH EVENING NEWS (UK)
"Bhaneja's reading doesn't miss an iambic beat in taking the playgoer from "Who's there?" to "-the rest is silence" in just over two hours. It's an extraordinary interpretation that allows the great play to speak for itself."
- THE MONTREAL GAZETTE
"Without set, props or even other actors to help him move things along, Bhaneja engages in urgent, energetic storytelling. The athleticism required to memorize and deliver 15,000 words of script is itself exhilarating to watch."
- NOW MAGAZINE (TORONTO)
"Divested of all but a single actor in black and the magic carpet of well-worn words,(solo) conjures the story with a skillful combination of character details, a beautiful edit that massages clear images and individual voices from the text, and a very trustworthy conduit in Bhaneja."
- THE HOUR (MONTREAL)
"This is a wonderfully physical and deft but amazingly enough un-stunty performance by Bhaneja that is profoundly clear, well-voiced and wonderfully distinct...it ever-so-elegantly pares away decades of extraneous layers and lets fans of Shakespeare see this sublime play with fresh eyes."
- CBC RADIO (EDMONTON)
"5 out of 5 stars."
- THE CALGARY SUN
"A blank verse wordsmith, Bhaneja delivers a masterful performance, and shows the talent, dedication and sacrifice to become not just a single character, but an entire cast. Even if all you know of Hamlet is, "To be or not to be," go to this performance."
- VUE WEEKLY (EDMONTON)