“It was a risky decision for a bachelor’s drama student to undertake an exceptionally daunting task, especially one so crucial to the result of their degree.”
Trinity Debut Festival of Theatre is a three-week long event from the students of the advanced directing in the Drama Department. Every year, a handful of Senior Sophister students are selected to partake in the course and receive intensive training in order to put on an exceptional hour long production of their own vision and creativity.
Set in a black box theatre, the Samuel Beckett, the festival always has a sense of prestige and high art. Annie Keegan’s choice of this nonsensical Tom Stoppard play was intriguing. Stoppard has been performed as part of debut before with ‘Rosencrantz’ and ‘Guildenstern Are Dead’. Neither of these works prepared me for the semantic dog dinner I was about to experience. Stoppard himself didn’t even describe ‘Dogg’s Hamlet’ as a play and stated he didn’t believe ‘Dogg’s Hamlet’ and ‘Cahoot’s Macbeth’. It was a risky decision for a bachelor’s drama student to undertake an exceptionally daunting task, especially one so crucial to the result of their degree.
“The seamless yet innocently disjointed choreography of Barron, Hamill and Finegan amazed me. After the first ten minutes, I was laughing, understanding and surprisingly enjoying myself.”
Frankly, I didn’t understand a single moment of first ten minutes. I didn’t laugh and failed to understand when others bellowed. I found the humour in “I’m a private school kid and so nonsensical” nauseating. Keegan is a talent however. Through stagecraft and the direction of school children’s physicality, I was kept intrigued. The seamless yet innocently disjointed choreography of Barron, Hamill and Finegan amazed me. After the first ten minutes, I was laughing, understanding and surprisingly enjoying myself.
Stoppard’s absurdist use of language challenges high art and our perception of it in a ground breakingly humorous manner. However Stoppard’s humour proved nothing more than a supporting character to Keegan’s explosive production. Actors such as Leo Hanna, as the salt-of-the-earth Northern lad, revelled in the wry humour of the production. Embodying the classist gap of understanding that can present itself in high culture, Hanna was a presence that was thrown around and stuck in a loop of misunderstanding. Hanna spoke English; everyone else spoke Dogg. Queue attempts at comprehension, tactless offenses and cultural miscommunication. Deconstructing language has never been more fun and I spend the majority of my days reading Saussure.
Keegan risked a large part of her degree in choosing to stage ‘Dogg’s Hamlet’. Creatively, Keegan rose to the challenge, topped it, then pulled it off. ‘Dogg’s Hamlet’ was a fantastic choice for the current Comedy Soc chair. An ode to physical theatre and nonsense.