Reviewed by Leonard Jacobs
Presented by The South Street Seaport Museum and the South Street Seaport Marketplace in association with the Faux-Real Theatre Company at the Tall Ship Peking HERE and ERS Theater at HERE Arts Center, 145 Sixth Ave., NYC, Oct. 27-31.
On a theatrical walking tour of the ship Peking at the South Street Seaport, the Faux-Real Theatre Company's merrily macabre "William Shakespeare's Haunted House" presents much ghoulish evidence that William Shakespeare's ghost is not alone. It's almost ironic, then, because the work of the Bard stands alone, perhaps forever, as the most endlessly malleable of all the dramatists who ever walked the earth.
In 10 scenes, Faux-Real imagines a gloomy afterlife for Shakespeare's characters, décor courtesy of Hades, Inc., in which Shakespeare's characters must relive the scariest moments from his plays. In such scenes as "The Wax Museum of Shakespeare's Characters," "Shakespeare's Char-acters Twist Their Tales," and "The Characters Break Out and Interact with Characters from the Wrong Plays," audience members witness snapshots from the various plays, frequently interacting with the action. Being led through the Hall of Fairies, being pulled into the Chamber of Darkness, feeling Caesar's wounds, dining with Titus Andronicus—these are all theatrical tricks making for a Halloween treat.
Whether it's Ophelia from "Hamlet" in a show-stopping dead faint, the Third Witch from "Macbeth" with eyes demonically engorged, or Richard III in the tragic throes, the actors are almost frighteningly possessed by real and impressive powers of concentration. Never once—even when the kids running about make snappy comments—do they ever break character.
Backed by artistic director Mark Greenfield's staging and costume, props, and set design by Carrie DuBois and Constance Tarbox, the 27-character cast included Tim Moore, Brian Simons, Robert Beach, Scott Lucy, Carrie DuBois, Don Downie, Layna Fisher, Michelle Goyette, Tim McDonnell, Ayinde Hurrey, Megan Mc-Donnell, Wema Harris, Elisa Pearl Blynn, Jennifer Bryan, Susan Hyon, Corey Carthew, Constance Tarbox, Maureen Cecilia O'Boyle, Joy Kelly, Jenni Graham, Richard Frankfather, Caroline Sharman, Mike Zartman, Robert Fitzsim-mons, Enzo Gentile, Zorikh Lequidre, and Melanie Warner.