Ophelia Is Also Dead

Sightline Productions
the Space Triplex – until August 24th
5 Stars (5 / 5)

Ophelia’s duty is to die. She cannot walk away or simply disappear, she has to die. She is a trigger for Hamlet’s final dual. Very often we can see her on the stage as an innocent young girl with a pure soul and naive personality. But what is behind that?

Gilmore, in her text, decided to expose the character of Ophelia with all her doubts and hopes – and cynical jokes, wearing a wedding dress and swimming goggles. Here, Ophelia is a theatre character, not a real person that finally got a chance to reveal her point of view and oppose to the idea of being a simple means for plot development. There are no politics in the background, she is a teenage girl who is getting old and tired with every single death of hers, from Shakespearean times until now. 

With Hamlet’s final scene it is easy to forget about Ophelia and focus on the immortal Hamlet who is torn apart by the death of one of his parents… pulled into madness. But there is no big difference between he and she. She also grew up without the mother whose memory she cherishes. She also loses her senses. Has anyone before questioned her madness? 

Fionna Monk as Ophelia is excellent. She gives Ophelia rebellious kicks while keeping her fragile. She knows exactly what she’s saying and why she is saying it, and keeps her expressions original through the whole performance that is more or less a monologue. Monk works precisely with her voice to create tension, tender moments or to express the furious despair of her inevitable drowning. She is playing with the audience’s attention, taking us on the ride of Ophelia’s childhood and sentimental memories of her mum, kids mischief, her growth from a child, to a girl, to a final stage of being in love with the weak weirdo Prince Hamlet. 

Gilmore captured a new and raw point of view on another character from the classical play with very poetical language that naturally blends with vulgarisms. Monk made an extraordinary performance out of it.