The Hamlet project is coming to Saigon

VietNamNet Bridge – June will see auditions in Saigon for Vietnamese actors and dancers wanting to take part in a project to stage a wordless version of Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet”. The project originates in New York and aims to promote Vietnam/ U.S. artistic cooperation.

Six American coordinators will be arriving in Saigon – a director, a film-maker, a lighting expert and so on – and they will be looking for eight Vietnamese to perform the drama. The successful eight will be paid, and auditions to find these eight performers will be free of charge.

Shakespeare’s famous play is well-known in Vietnam, say the organizers, but, because the language is difficult, performances are rare and probably under-appreciated. A version consisting of mime, dance and visual images, by contrast, should be easily understood by all.

Auditions will take place at Dancenter, 53 Nguyen Dang Giai Street, Thao Dien, District 2, Saigon on June 12, for actors, and June 13 and 14 for dancers.

Dancers and actors who want to apply should send a resume and a headshot to by June 10, 2015.

The eventual performances will take place on three weekends, Thursday to Sunday nights, from July 23 to August 9. The group hopes that a thousand people will see these performances.

Rehearsals will be held every weeknight between June 17 and July 23.

“We are adapting “Hamlet” because it is one of the most universal stories in history. Hamlet’s emotional and psychological journey is so innately human that it has the ability to surpass all cultural and linguistic barriers,” writes the director, Daniel Croix Henderson, in the Project Overview.

A documentary film will be made of the rehearsal process and the performances. This will be screened by international arts organizations in New York City and in upstate New York, and will also be submitted to film festivals across the United States. It is hoped the film will encourage discussion on the current social, political, and cultural relationship between Vietnam and the U0S.

“Our adaption of Hamlet will be 90 minutes long without an intermission,” continues the Project Overview. “It will flow like a lucid dream, or a moving painting, with few black-outs and no clunky transitions. Props, setting and costumes will be minimal.”

The environments will be largely created by lighting and sound, plus the physical expression of the performers. There will be no spoken words.

Daniel Croix Henderson is a director and actor originally from Buffalo, NY. As a theater artist, he aims to produce world-class professional work with an emphasis on cultural and artistic diversity. He has worked on over 40 theatrical productions, commercials, and films, and has appeared on stage with regional theater companies across upstate New York such as Shakespeare in Delaware Park, New Phoenix Theater, and Torn Space Theater. He has directed for Subversive Theater Collective and at Rust Belt in Buffalo, NY.

All in all, The Hamlet Project appears set to be a major artistic event in Saigon. In particular, the actors and dancers taking part will have a unique cross-cultural experience, and be paid for participating into the bargain.

Bradley Winterton


Hamlet project, Saigon, Vietnamese actors, dancers