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Hamletmachine.

Another example of theater-in-the-tiny: Heiner Muller's Hamletmachine at Theater for the New City. Muller is Brechtlike himself in some respects. He is an East German plainly out of sorts with "really existing socialism," also with really existing capitalism. His main audience is in the West, though he seems to have no desire to go there. Hamletmachine is a series of takes or shticks on Hamlet, presented in an order that appears at first to be random. Ideals and illusions of all sorts are mocked, including, noticeably, the ideals of communism, though certainly the play is too nihilist to be considered merely anticommunist. Tear the works down, Muller seems to be saying, tear it all down, spare nothing. And here again was a spark of life. Mary Shultz played all the parts, jumping from comic lambasts to histrionics to finger exercises. She was often in profile to the audience, now radiant, now militant, now looking like a heroine out of sci-fi. The power of her performance wasn't lasting. There was a gleam and it was gone. The play itself isn't lasting. It takes fifty minutes and is over. "Too short," my companion and I said to each other. "But there was something there."

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Title Annotation:Theater for the New City, New York
Author:Berman, Paul
Publication:The Nation
Article Type:Theater Review
Date:Jan 19, 1985
Words:202
Previous Article:A Kurt Weill cabaret.
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