Trending
MOST READ
SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

News: Data and records obtained by the Current show that between January 1, 2013, and early October of this year the San Antonio... By Alexa Garcia-Ditta and Elaine Wolff 10/22/2014
Easy Green: 10 quick ways to make money in college

Easy Green: 10 quick ways to make money in college

College Issue 2014: Sell clothes. Plato’s Closet is a great place to take your gently worn apparel in exchange for cold, hard cash. They accept clothes, shoes and... By Brittany Minor 8/18/2014

Best Local Artist

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
6 Sinfully Good Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in SA

6 Sinfully Good Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in SA

Food & Drink: Cheesy Jane’s. Multiple locations, cheesyjanes.com. If the name is any indicator, this San Antonio staple doesn’t mess around when it comes to... By Tommie Ethington 10/22/2014
Alamo Ice House Brings Hill Country to Downtown

Alamo Ice House Brings Hill Country to Downtown

Food & Drink: There was a special kind of draw at Alamo Ice House on a recent Tuesday evening. A handful of weeks after opening its... By Jessica Elizarraras 10/22/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Arts & Culture

Hamlet Goes to College in ‘Wittenberg’

Photo: Siggi Ragnar, License: N/A

Siggi Ragnar


Before returning to Elsinore for the wedding of his mother and his uncle, Hamlet was a student in Wittenberg. Martin Luther, a professor of theology there, launched the Protestant Reformation by posting 95 Theses on a local church. The inspired premise behind Wittenberg, David Davalos’ scintillating drama of ideas and verbal pyrotechnics, is that Hamlet might have been a student of Luther in 1517. He borrows Christopher Marlowe’s Faustus (as in, the scholar who sells his soul to the devil for knowledge) to serve as faculty foil to Luther. The vacillating Prince of Denmark is torn between majoring in theology and philosophy. Professor Luther offers a path of piety: “Let an abiding faith steer you.” Dr. Faustus advises Hamlet: “Question everything.”

In its published form, Wittenberg seems like a Platonic dialogue translated by S.J. Perelman. A reader can linger over literary allusions and clever puns (Lascivious Helen asks Faustus whether his protégé is Swedish. He replies that Hamlet is Danish. Helen: “I love danish in the morning.”). But director Bill Gundry and a gifted cast demonstrate how much more zestful the play can be on stage.

The playwright himself takes on the role of restless skeptic Faustus. It is said that the devil gets all the best tunes, and Davalos’ Faustus, whom Luther calls satanic, gets to sing the only songs— three numbers, including an uproarious but plangent rendition of “Que Sera, Sera”—in The Bunghole, a campus pub. Davalos conveys the nuances of an irreverent, witty teacher, scholar and satyr who chafes at the limits of being human. “Above all, think for yourself,” Faustus tells Hamlet. Davalos’ Faustus is an affectionate portrait of a plucky freethinker in an age very like our own (evolution, climate change, etc.) when Copernicus’ theory of the solar system flirted with heresy.

Andrew Thornton, a lauded veteran of local productions and Davalos’ classmate when both attended Churchill High School, plays Luther as a devout but constipated Christian who is goaded by Faustus into breaking with the Church over indulgences and purgatory. While Luther, preaching, recites Song of Songs, the most erotic book of the Bible, Faustus and Helen put the text into practice. Embodying what Goethe called “the eternal feminine,” Christina Casella plays several women, ranging from a saucy serving wench and the wanton proto-feminist Helen to the Virgin Mary. Sam Mandelbaum’s Hamlet is an earnest undergraduate whose angst is exacerbated by uneasy dreams. His tennis match with an offstage Laertes anticipates a duel that concludes a more famous play.

“You write the drama of your life, not some unseen hand,” Faustus assures Hamlet. Shakespeare’s hand wrote the play that Hamlet will reenter. But the hand that wrote Wittenberg can—and should—be seen playing Faustus. This smart and sassy production compels the audience to smack its own hands together, in applause.

Wittenberg

$10-$25
8pm Fri-Sat, 3pm and 8pm Sun
Cellar Theater
San Pedro Playhouse
800 W Ashby
(210) 733-7258
theplayhouseSA.org 
Through Nov 17

Recently in Arts & Culture
  • SA Design Maven D’Ette Cole and the Topography of Junk D’Ette Cole has been an artist, interior designer, antiques dealer and even a pie. Simply put, she notices everything, and has built her career on... | 10/22/2014
  • Failure Is Not an Option: George Lopez returns to SA It is evident comedian George Lopez is still a little sensitive about the on-again, off-again relationship he’s had with television. Whatever the... | 10/22/2014
  • Free Will Astrology ARIES (March 21-April 19): The driest place on the planet is the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. It gets about a half-inch of rain per year. And yet in 2011, archaeologists discovered that it’s also home to a site containing the fossilized skeletons of nu | 10/22/2014
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus