Act Before You Speak

The Flea Theater presents Throes Theater’s Act Before You Speak, the Tragic History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Directed by Hedvig Claesson, the premiere is slated for Friday, August 3rd. All tickets are only $20, with Tuesdays by donation.

In Act Before You Speak, two women and a violinist perform Hamlet in 70 minutes, without speaking a word. The simple truths of every-day life bear out the tragic story of love, grief, and madness in an incredibly intimate setting. Written by Glascock Prize winner Alexandra Zelman- Doring, the show features a live performance of original music by a renowned group of international composers and an innovative set by emerging artist Jeffrey Landman. The dialogue between the set design, music and architecture transforms the space into both a sanctuary and prison.

The all-female cast responds to the all male casts of Shakespeare’s stage: both exposing artifice and revealing a sensual truth. In the delightful awakening of the actors’ body language, the audience hears Hamlet like never before. Director Hedvig Claesson is renowned for her production of Franz Kroetz’s Request Programme, a one-woman play that investigates womanhood and suicide through silent drama. With Act Before You Speak she continues to investigate these themes by finding, in the world’s most beautifully written role, a new, unspeakable beauty.

“It is a journey through life’s emotions, from madness to revenge, from suffering to the beauty and scent of a lavender bouquet. The actors go through what could nearly be seen as immolation, a religious act towards the audience, each movement is as precise and meaningful as the lifting of a finger from an Indian traditional dancer” —Fiamma Mazzocchi Alemanni, The Cherwell

The play stars Alexandra Zelman-Doring, Marie Godeau and Ana Milosavljevic. Jeffrey Landman created the set design. Alexandra Zelman-Doring wrote the script in collaboration with Ada Gafter O’Higgins and Jeffrey Landman. The work features original music by Jiri Kaderabek, Mahir Cetiz and Ana Milosavljevic.

ACT BEFORE YOU SPEAK runs August 3-26, Tuesday through Sunday at 7 pm with a Saturday Matinee at 3 pm. The Flea Theater is located at 41 White Street between Church and Broadway, three blocks south of Canal, close to the A/C/E, N/R/Q, 6, J/M/Z and 1 subway lines. Tickets are $20 and are available by calling 212-352-3101 or online at

Alexandra Zelman-Doring is a co-founder of Throes Theater. She studied at Brown University and holds a Masters of Fine Arts from Columbia University’s Program in Poetry. Zelman-Doring is the 2008 first-prize winner of the Glascock Poetry Prize that boasts Sylvia Plath and James Merrill among its past winners. Her recent poetry and translations have appeared or are upcoming in The Oxford Magazine, LIT Magazine, The Indy, The Strip, Potsherd, Porchlight, The Round, and La Prensa, among others.

Jeffrey Landman is a co-founder of Throes Theater. He graduated from Brown University with a degree in Architecture and English. His architectural and sculptural work has been featured in group shows at the Rhode Island School of Design, Winchester College and Brown University. He has been awarded grants from the Brown Creative Arts Council and the Narragansett Bay Committee.

Marie Godeau is a co-founder of Throes Theater. Since 2007, Marie studies acting at Michael Howard studios with Moscow art theater veteran Polina Klimovitskaya. Recently she appeared in the short film “Sincerely” directed by Richard Vallejos, and played the role of Emile Zola in “To Hold an Apple” at 59 East 59th’s East to Edinburgh Festival, before performing for a month at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She has translated numerous plays and poems into French.

Ana Milosavljevic is a Serbian native and New York City-based composer and violinist of eclectic, cutting-edge contemporary music, often featuring her Viper electric violin. Her “inventive,” “graceful,” ”showpiece” works (NewYork Times) have premiered at Carnegie Hall, Off-Broadway, Le Poisson Rouge, and the Tribeca New Music Festival, performed by the string quartet ETHEL, flutist Robert Mirabal, and Ensemble Metamorphosis, and featured by TAKE Dance and in the art film Luci in the Sky. A MacDowell Colony Fellow, Ana has performed solo recitals at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, LPR and The Stone. ANA’s new album is Reflections (Innova)

Hedvig Claesson is an acclaimed director. She went to the Stockholm Film School and holds a Master of Arts Film Studies from Stockholm University. She has directed at the Stockholm City Theatre, National Theatre and Strindberg’s Intima Theatre.

Mahir Cetiz is an acclaimed musician. He received his BA in music from Ankara State Conservatory, where he studied cello, piano, composition and conducting. Cetiz studied with Chen Yi, Zhou Long and Kamran Ince in the Master’s Program at the University of Memphis. In the year 2000, he won a scholarship from British Council, which enabled him to continue his studies at the Royal Northern College of Music.

Jiří Kadeřábek, born in 1978, is an award-winning Czech composer. His music have been commissioned and performed by orchestras and ensembles such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra, Prague Philharmonia, Slovak Philharmonic Choir, Ostravská Banda, New Juilliard Ensemble, Fourbythree; festivals such as the MoMA Summergarden, Prague Spring, Moving Sounds, Ostravské dny, Contempuls; radios such as the BBC, VPRO (Netherlands), Czech Radio and others. Currently he is working on his second full-length opera Kafka’s Women.

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