‘Wittenberg’ play imagines Hamlet’s school days
BILL NUTT | The Daily Record
What is the deal with Hamlet?
For centuries, readers and actors have debated that question. Why is Hamlet so indecisive? Why does he act one way in one scene, then another way in the next scene? What causes him to be (or not to be) the way he is?
Playwright David Davalos modestly offers one possible solution: Hamlet is torn between the competing philosophies of two of his professors at University of Wittenberg. Click here to read more.
BWW Interviews: David Davalos - Playwright for WITTENBERG at STNJ
MARINA KENNEDY | Broadway World
Wittenberg, the original play by David Davalos, will have its New Jersey premiere at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (STNJ). Preview performances begin on September 10th. Metropolitan area will relish the opportunity to see this highly acclaimed piece of theatre on the Madison stage. Broadwayworld.com had a chance to interview Davalos prior to the opening of Wittenberg about the play and his accomplished career.
Directed by Joseph Discher, Wittenberg manipulates time and space to unite a remarkable trio of characters, Doctor Faustus, Martin Luther, and Hamlet for a witty and provocative debate about faith, fate, existence, and even tennis. The play begins in Northern Germany in 1517, on the University of Wittenberg campus. Young Hamlet, prince of Denmark, is a senior, unsure of his beliefs after an eye-opening summer spent studying abroad. Upon his return to school, he seeks guidance from his two trusted professors, philosopher John Faustus and theologian Martin Luther. Click here to read more.
Shakespeare Theatre to Present WITTENBERG, Begin. 9/10
The Shakespeare Theatre is proud to present the New Jersey premiere of the award-winning play Wittenberg by David Davalos, in which he ingeniously manipulates time and space to unite an unusual trio-Doctor Faustus, Martin Luther, and Hamlet-for a witty and provocative debate about faith, fate, existence, and tennis. The "big questions," the enigmas that eternally puzzle mankind, are given clever and delightfully quirky forum in this contemporary riff on the age-old and eternal conudrums. The Washington Post promises, Wittenberg "should delight Tom Stoppard fans, recovering English majors, disillusioned academics and anyone who has ever wondered what Helen of Troy was like in the sack." Click here to read more.
Wittenberg' review: Hamlet and Faustus as 'bros with big ideas'
RONNIE REICH | The Star-Ledger
When Hamlet walks across the stage at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, he wears a purple brocade jacket and pants - with a knit beanie and a casual messenger bag. It's an appropriate look for a college kid late for a lecture, who also happens to be a legend of the Elizabethan theater.
The play isn't the character's usual, but "Wittenberg" by David Davalos, which finds Hamlet (Jordan Coughtry), Dr. Faustus (Anthony Marble) and Martin Luther (Mark H. Dold) crossing paths in Wittenberg, Germany. The town is referenced in the real-world literature for which each character is best known, and the playwright envisions Luther and Faustus as professors at the town university. Hamlet is their student. Click here to read more.
‘Wittenberg’ Makes for Rip-Roaring Fun at Shakespeare Theatre of NJ
LIZ KEILL | The Alternative Press
Who could imagine the unlikely meeting of Hamlet, Dr. Faustus and Martin Luther? That’s the premise of David Davalos’ play Wittenberg at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. It’s a play on words, a spin on a play-within-a-play and a refreshing look at figures indelibly engraved in history or drama. But there are plenty of laughs, despite the high-minded strivings and nobility of the characters.
Anthony Marble as John Faustus is often center stage as a philosopher/teacher at the University of Wittenberg, Germany in 1517. Marble neatly captures the constantly questioning Faust and, in addition, plays the guitar and sings. Wait 'til you see the finale. He has frequent exchanges with Martin Luther, performed with reverence and a certain crazed zeal by Mark H. Dold. Their clashing views on religion and self-determination make for much verbal volleyball. Click here to read more.
Hamlet meets Faustaus, Helen of Troy, Martin Luther and others at the Shakespeare Theatre
NICKY SINGER | The Princeton Packet
WHAT do you get when you put a stern but baffled prince, a miscreant but caring philosopher, and a moral but zealous priest in a historic German university? Why, David Davalos’ 2008 play Wittenberg. The award-winning play consistently plays on the motif of the angel and devil archetypes perched on shoulders whispering advice into the ear of the gullible or weak-minded.
In Davalos’ tale, Hamlet from Shakespeare’s Hamlet is in his final year of undergraduate study at Wittenberg University. He contemplates both his academic future and his future as prince of Denmark. He is advised by Dr. Faustus, a philosophy professor with a knack for prescribing certain types of substances to treat the maladies of the campus and an on-going romantic tryst with Helen of Troy, a former nun. On the opposite shoulder is Hamlet’s theology professor the good Martin Luther of the Protestant Reformation. Click here to read more.
‘Wittenberg’ Makes for Rip-Roaring Fun at Shakespeare Theatre of NJ
SIMON SALTZMAN | CurtainUp.com
Of course the title of David Davalos's play rings a bell. But if you are thinking of the University in Springfield, Ohio you are a little off the mark. Although it is the American cousin of Wittenberg University in Germany that is famous as Professor/Theologian Martin Luther's bully pulpit for his Ninety-Five Theses and principally the birthplace of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. It is also famed in fiction as the University where Shakespeare's Hamlet and Horatio studied and is the setting for this audaciously funny and intellectually stimulating satire in which we see Luther and his fellow professor, the controversial philosopher Doctor Faustus at loggerheads as to which course of study the senior student Hamlet will choose as his major. Click here to read more.
Faust + Luther + Hamlet=Wittenberg
SHERRI RASE | QOnStage
David Davalos clever and bewitching “Wittenberg” is not for the faint of heart. Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (STNJ) is continually showing canny new angles to thorny centuries-old texts. This play challenges beliefs, religious and otherwise, with a soupçon of brilliance scattered throughout for piquancy. Joseph Discher provides a very adult evening of comedy including sex, drugs, rock, and droll references to the works of the Bard. Brittany Vasta’s scenic design and Hugh Hanson’s costumes are dazzling combinations of period pieces with visual pun anachronisms that will take you back to your own college days. Click here to read more.
Martin Luther mentors Hamlet in David Davalos’ play ‘Wittenberg’
RICHARD CARTER | Examiner.com
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, in Madison, isn’t just about the Bard and his works, though three of them are part of the 2014 season. The company also champions contemporary works, such as David Davalos’ comedy from 2008, “Wittenberg,” which is the site in Germany where the Protestant Reformation was born in the 16th century. The company unveiled this work Saturday, Sept. 13, to an audience that roared with laughter and was on its feet at final curtain. With a cast of four, led by Director Joseph Discher, “Wittenberg” is “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” for Protestants. Click here to read more.
“Wittenberg” tickles the funny bone as it challenges the thinking
KAREN NOWOSAD | Examiner.com
A very unique play opened last weekend at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. “Wittenberg” by David Davalos will be playing on the Madison stage now through September 28, 2014. The play provides debate on thought provoking questions from three legendary characters from history and literature. It is presented through a combination of rhetorical and humorous dialogue and through the fine acting of an ensemble of four players. This presentation is a newer play than one might normally associate with the Shakespeare Theatre as it only premiered in 2008. However, because of the subject matter and production qualities, it reflects the spirit of the company’s dedication to the classics. It also provides a very imaginative approach to storytelling which will surprise and delight audiences. Click here to read more.
‘Wittenberg’: Hamlet, before ‘Hamlet’
C.W. WALKER | The Asbury Park Press
It’s back to school season, not only on campuses and local malls, but at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey as well. Time to trade the wild zaniness of a summer show like “The Alchemist” for the more cerebral pleasures of “Wittenberg” by David Davalos, which critics of earlier productions have dubbed “Hamlet Goes to College.”
The action is set at Wittenberg University, that hotbed of 16th century political dissent and religious debate, the Berkeley of its time. We meet the Prince of Denmark (Jordan Coughtry) as a typical undergrad: a little callow, a little clueless. He plays on the school’s tennis team, is often late for class and hasn’t yet declared a major. And oh yes, he has a mother fixation and bad dreams. Click here to read more.
BWW Reviews: WITTENBERG Now On Stage at STNJ - Refreshingly Original
MARINA KENNEDY | Broadway World
"To believe or not to believe." Wittenberg
The New Jersey Premiere of Wittenberg, a new and notable play, is now on stage at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (STNJ). This wonderfully crafted piece by playwright, David Davalos is unique in every respect. Wittenberg manipulates the lives and fate of three characters, Hamlet, Doctor Faustus and Martin Luther. The trio transcends time, space, and literary history to make this a completely captivating show. The interplay of the characters in Wittenberg is inspired, allowing for illuminating existential discussions and just the right dose of humor. Simply stated, you will love Wittenberg. Click here to read more.
REVIEW: STUNNING “WITTENBERG” ROCKS THE HOUSE @ STNJ
RUTH ROSS | NJ Arts Maven
If you have ever wondered what a critic meant when he or she described a production as a tour de force, I suggest you run, do not walk, over to the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre in Madison to see one in the flesh. There, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey has mounted the dazzling New Jersey premiere of a wickedly clever play about the Protestant Reformation (yes, theReformation, really) called Wittenberg, penned by David Davalos, and it is a production you won't want to miss. Davalos has likened the University of Wittenberg as akin to Berkeley in the 1960s, "a center for intellectual ferment" and "a certain amount of invention"—a perfect setting for the exhilarating verbal pyrotechnics and war of ideas that play out before our eyes. Click here to read more.
'Wittenberg' is a brilliant 16th century campus comedy
Pascack Valley Community Life
Young Prince Hamlet (Jordan Coughtry) has yet to declare a major at the University of Wittenberg in the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s production of ‘Wittenberg.’
Since we know when we enter the theater that David Davalos’ "Wittenberg" has something to do with Faustus, Hamlet and Luther, we feel safe to assume that in the opening scene, the young man in 16th century garb nailing a parchment to the church door is the Catholic priest, Martin Luther and the parchment is his Ninety-Five Thesis, challenging the practices and teachings of the Catholic Church that would lead to his excommunication and the Protestant Reformation. Click here to read more.
‘Wittenberg’ is a witty winner at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
JAY LUSTIG | NJArts.Net
Hamlet is more indecisive than ever in “Wittenberg,” and who can blame him? He’s a student at the University of Wittenberg, where two professors — the worldly, eager-to-sin Dr. John Faustus and the solemn, pious Rev. Martin Luther — are pulling him in different directions, when they’re not bantering with each other. Click here to read more.