Hamlet's famous "To be or not to be" monologue is about teetering on the precipice of decision; should he go on living and see through bloody vengeance against his father's killer, or should he end it all? In Heiner Müller's Hamletmachine, this mental paralysis of the intellectual is the only recognizable element of Shakespeare's play. Here Hamlet is aware he's an actor playing a role, but this is no consolation. He spouts lurid sexual fantasies about his mother and then threatens to eat Ophelia's heart, but when the latter confronts him with this threat, he laments and wishes he were a woman. Hung forever on the point of making his decision, Hamlet is an ineffective clown and Ophelia is Electra incarnate, the active destroyer of everything. Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble presents Hamletmachine as "a circuslike music video" at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday (June 9 through 26) at 2720 Cherokee; www.slightlyoff.org). Tickets are $10 to $15.
Wednesdays-Saturdays. Starts: June 9. Continues through June 26, 2010

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