Though Ian W. Hill was recently referred to as "downtown's Orson Welles" by Paper Magazine, it would be more accurate to refer to Orson Welles as a kind of bicoastal Ian W. Hill of the past. That being said, Hill is doing what Welles never got off his ass to accomplish: he is directing, designing and starring in Ian W. Hill's Hamlet on the Brick stage! The show opened this past Tuesday, but there are three shows left. Read what he has to say for himself.
What exactly makes your show so damn pretentious anyway?
It's a production of that chestnut-masterpiece by Billy Shakespeare, Hamlet, and I've had the nerve to design it, direct it, star in the title role, and put my name over it (like John Carpenter) and make it into Ian W. Hill's Hamlet. I've been working on it for 18 years, stewing it over a simmering flame like a good Texas chili, so you know it's just GOT to be incredibly overconsidered! I believe that the best way to honor and respect Shakespeare's dramatic work is to have no respect for any of the tradition that has formed around it, like barnacles. So I'm taking a power-sander to the arthropodic crust.
Name some obscure influences on your work – extra points for unpronounceability.
Some may be obscure, but most are simply, perhaps, unusual: Charles Marowitz, Josef Svovoda, Russell Lynes, David Halberstam (R.I.P.), John Berger, Joseph Cornell, Gore Vidal, William Peter Blatty, Steven Berkoff, Greil Marcus, Del Close, Joseph Stefano, Ingmar Bergman, Richard Dawkins, Dashiell Hammett, Johnny Rotten.
The late Roland Barthes once wrote “For the theatre one needs long arms; it is better to have them too long than too short. An artiste with short arms can never, never make a fine gesture.” Explicate.
No matter how long your arms may be however, your arms too short to box with God, Barthes, so put THAT in your Umwelt and smoke it!
In what ways do you plan on alienating your audience? Cite an intentionally opaque or confusing moment within your production.
I have deliberately removed as many of the "comforting" traditions one would expect from a production of Hamlet as I could. Apart from that, I want people to be surprised, so no specifics.
Which other Pretentious Festival show will you declare as your sworn ideological enemy, and why?
I oppose Nothing.
Please give us the gist of the acceptance speech you would use were you to win one of our Pretentious Awards.
"I deserve this."