A Love Letter to Shakespeare, Ghosts, Reality TV: ‘The Rest is Silence’
First a little backstory:
Ghost Light Theatricals has their gender-swapped Hamlet running through February 2nd at the Ballard Underground. GLT is known for putting thought-provoking twists on existing plays. These main shows are paired with a late show that runs immediately after, usually with thematic tie-ins. Tickets are $5 at the door.
Now to the meat of it:
The Rest is Silence (Written by Justin Ison & Stephen Scheide, and Directed by Justin Ison) is a big wide-eyed hug directed towards ol’ Bill Shakespeare. Starring Jesse Baldridge as Horatio, Hamlet’s best friend, who’s alive four hundred years later. (Didn’t catch the full explanation — doesn’t matter.) Horatio is a now a paranormal psychologist desperately trying to get characters from the Bard’s plays to find peace and move on. At this point Horatio mostly just wants the spirits to leave him alone. He has Iago (David Cravens-O’Farrell) on the couch, whose every insecurity leads towards menace and mayhem. Hamlet (Joey Fechtel) is a letch, and squarely divorced from reality. Enter the film crew.
Horatio is done, finished. He’s had it up to here with his ghost clients, and he’s contacted a ghost hunter television show (Lily Cohen, Lori Lee Haener, Ian McIntire, Mark Rud) to rid him of his pests of several centuries. There’s some silliness with the ghosts interacting with the ghost hunters. (Who can see who?) There are lots of shakespeare lines and half-lines, it’s rewarding for those familiar with Hamlet, and Shakespeare in general. (Theater geeks, I’m looking at you.) Also having a program from seeing Hamlet beforehand gets you a free cheap beer at the bar. Score.
The Rest is Silence is Justin Ison’s debut at Ghost Light as a writer/director. This is a quick (brevity is the soul of wit) and silly comedy, full of jokes, and full of gifts for people who came for Hamlet, and stayed for drinks and laughs at the late show. It’s far from perfect, but I caught the Tim Burton Batman reference, and from then on I was 100% on-board. (Figure it out yourself, see if you’re as nerdy as me!) Next Friday and Saturday (February 1 & 2) are the final two shows. Should you go? I’d say though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.
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