A few months before Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, film directors Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosolowski brought together the Ukrainian theater maker Roza Sarkisian and five young compatriots in an atmospheric theater to create a performance blending Shakespeare’s Hamlet with the performers’ reality.
Like Hamlet, Yaroslav, Kateryna, Rodion, Oksana and Roman also face great existential dilemmas. “To live or not to live,” is Yaroslav’s twist on “to be or not to be”, as he reflects on his physical—and almost fatal—involvement in the battle in the Donbas region in 2014. Kateryna and Roman also fought in that war, while Oksana and Rodion fight as feminists and members of the LGBTQ community in a conservative, intolerant society.
In The Hamlet Syndrome, the depiction of the intense theatrical process is complemented by portraits of the five protagonists: breathtaking insights into their personal lives, in which trauma and raw pain increasingly come to the surface.