Georgian theatre professionals in New York premiere of new ’Hamlet’

The new Hamlet play debuted at the New York venue this week. Photo: Jeremy Daniel., 27 Apr 2017 - 18:38, Tbilisi,Georgia

A brand-new production of the Shakespeare classic Hamlet is on a premiere run in New York, with Georgian theatre professionals featuring heavily in famous writer Boris Akunin’s stage adaptation.

Debuting earlier this week at the Theatre at St. Clement’s, Hamlet. A Version revealed to theatre-goers the best-selling author’s alternative setting for the timeless theatre piece.

Akunin’s adaptation is brought to stage by New York-based theatre director Irina Gachechiladze and a cast led by actors Matt Weiss, Claire Brownell and Galen Murphy-Hoffman.

The adaptation comes from internationally recognised Russian author Boris Akunin. Photo: Getty Images/New York Post.

The new redaction of Shakespeare’s 1609 work has already been marked in reviews by New York-based theatre critics.

Set in a crumbling hierarchical empire, Hamlet. A Version shifts the usual focus from the iconic philosophical title character to the intrigue, opportunism, and political scheming of a burgeoning police state”, noted New York Times’ Laura Collins-Hughes in her view on the staging.

Gachechiladze’s work on directing the work was noted by the review for making "design the real star” of the production, recognising the approach by the member of New York’s Lincoln Center Directors Lab.

The Georgian director has worked on productions at theatres including New York’s TheatreLab venue and the Kote Marjanishvili State Drama Theatre in Tbilisi.

New York-based theatre director Irina Gachechiladze worked on the play for Theatre at St. Clement’s. Photo:

A graduate of the Russian Academy of Performing Arts, she has also directed cinema projects awarded at film festivals in Russia.

Further contribution to conveying the story of the new redaction comes from projection designer Michael Ivanishvili, who has widely collaborated with Gachechiladze on opera and film productions.

The two-act production also involves lighting design from Isabella Byrd and costume design by Heather Klar, who has worked on over 30 theatre productions in New York.

Hamlet. A Version also features original music by internationally celebrated Georgian composer Giya Kancheli.

Projection design for the piece comes from Michael Ivanishvili. Photo: Michael Ivanishvili/Facebook.

The stage adaptation for the 1 hour, 40 minute play comes from Akunin, a Georgian-born Russian author known for his series of detective fiction since the late 1990s.

He graduated from the University of Moscow with majors in philology and oriental history before publishing books now translated into more than fifty languages. More than 30 million copies of his works have been sold worldwide.

His outspoken political views mean Akunin has not resided in Russia since 2014. The writer told the New York Post newspaper earlier this month he was "working on nonfiction series in the [United Kingdom], serious novels in France and entertainment books in Spain”.

Hamlet. A Version is produced by international art and performance collective Red Lab Productions and the Roust Theatre Company. Later this year, Red Lab Productions will host a festival of new theatre plays from Georgia at New York’s Teatro Circulo venue.

The premiere program of Akunin’s Hamlet adaptation will run at Theatre at St. Clement’s through May 7.