A fresh take is apparent from the surgical elimination of the spooky throat-clearing scene on the battlements of Castle Elsinore. In its place, a silent prologue spotlights the grief-stricken Hamlet (Leo Marks) kneeling before a towering cross at his father's funeral. Cutting to the unseemly revelry, two months later, at the marriage of Hamlet's mother, Gertrude (Lee Ann Manley), to his uncle Claudius (Paul Sulzman) neatly telescopes the two seismic events that threaten his sanity.
No feigned madness for this melancholy Prince--a noble mind is here o'erthrown in Marks' edgy portrayals. The depths of his harrowing descent and hard-fought return are eloquently reflected in the heartfelt apology for his mental lapse that he offers to his mortal enemy Laertes (Brendan Bradley). Insight and feeling are hallmarks of the production's accessible, rapid-fire line readings, which are refreshingly free of mannered thespianship (one of the few dramatic pauses is amusingly placed after Polonius' promise "I will be brief").
Teeming with vitality and intensity, Kubzansky's in-your-face staging bursts from both ends of the reconfigured 80-seat venue through a central runway flanked by the two audience rows. The solid ensemble performances is heightened by Randall Tico's atmospheric sound design.