Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are still

William Shakespeare's Hamlet, as presented by TNT Theater Britain, comes for a four-city, four-day tour.

hamlet and a friend tnt theater 88 (photo credit: )
hamlet and a friend tnt theater 88
(photo credit: )
Court intrigue spirals out of control and a prince finds himself confronted with a situation that the insane envy and the moral lament. Then, as a proper Shakespearean tragedy should end, everybody dies in a Baroque bloodbath. William Shakespeare's Hamlet, as presented by TNT Theater Britain, comes for a four-city, four-day tour through Ra'anana, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem on December 8-11, respectively. The production is currently on a six-week tour in China, the longest Shakespearean tour in that country's history. TNT Music Theater reverts back to traditional theater. Founded in the 1980s, the company has a heavy Eastern European influence where theater styles never broke from the traditions of Shakespeare's day. In the 19th century, romanticism emphasized realism in plays, thus focusing on grand set designs and costume while omitting musical accompaniment. Shakespeare's theater, on the other hand, included minimal set and costume designs with music playing an integral role. With no theater of their own, the company is able to pool its resources and thus the players are the ensemble as well. So, when your favorite character is offstage for a scene that means he or she can be found in the orchestral pit, instrument in hand. Director Paul Stebbings, a group founder, stresses that this really binds the play together. In every culture, theater and music are great allies, and TNT decided to make this relationship a cornerstone of its productions. The company composes new music for each of its productions, trying to remain as close as possible to fulfilling Shakespeare's original intentions. The group arrives in Israel for the first time in hopes of developing a relationship with the theater going public here. This is the company's fourth tour in China and the relationship has blossomed beyond expectation with ever growing demand for more shows and performances. Stebbings notes the reputation of the theater establishment here and believes that the sophistication of the audience is a good fit for his company's productions moving forward. Hamlet is certainly an appropriate play to perform for the company's first tour in Israel. It is the most important of TNT's productions this year and will serve as an ideal showcase of the company to a new audience. At least one or two Shakespeare plays are always included in TNT's repertoire. Stebbings remarks, "[it's] incredible that someone five hundred years old can excite this level of interest. In every culture it's performed in its own way." Shakespeare just might be the greatest entertainer - that is pre-Sammy Davis Jr. TNT does not accept any governmental funds for its productions, thus it is entirely free to allot resources as it sees artistically fit and can cater to demand without restrictions. Stebbings relates that the company has a much stronger position in China because after initial success there, demand remained high and the company was free to continue performing there according to the quickly growing demand. The tour recently played in 50 of Europe's castles bringing the performances to open air arenas - similar in effect to Shakespeare's own Globe Theater. Should this relationship develop as expected, then Israel could have the best of theater in the loveliest of settings: desert fortresses, Roman theaters, Umayyad palaces, Crusader castles and, even, the highly coveted English detention camps. For ticket and show information visit