Dana Marschz is pronounced Marsch-z (the “z” an additional emphasis beyond the “sch”) and is one of a number of things that makes the main character of Hamlet 2 that much more awkward and potentially tragic. As he even whines, “My life is a parody of a tragedy”. In fact the position Dana finds himself in is a pretty common tale for those that come to Los Angeles looking to become an actor. Their pride is stripped from them completely and they become emotionally erratic and completely insecure individuals…sometimes they never regain that composure because they don’t know how to refocus their creative and scarred sides into something healthy.
And so we follow Dana on his personal odyssey as he seeks to regain his inner strength and voice by creating an original work for a group of high school students. And quite an odyssey it is. Pam Brady (a South Park writer alum and Team America: World Police scribe) along with Andrew Fleming (the director of a nice little gem Dick and other lesser films) have created a concoction and character that’s so awkward that it’s hilarious, but then it stops being funny and becomes so very, incredibly awkward that it becomes honest. It’s like staring at a freshly opened wound.
Actor Steve Coogan (Tropic Thunder) is the wounded and he grabs hold of this character and doesn’t look back in any way. Dana Marschz could have easily become a parody, but Coogan grinds this character down to a point where there’s nothing but honesty and pain spilling forth. And it becomes a beautiful thing. It goes from comedy to something far more moving and socially aware.
You see hidden in the deepest depths of Marschz is a very scarred individual, one that’s too afraid to become the artist he wants to be. His art is of course acting and telling stories. It’s his desire. His drive. And when finally push comes to shove he takes those demons and churns them around and produces something that may or may not be great art, but goes beyond even the definition of good and bad.
You see there’s a little bit of Dana Marschz in everyone. There’s the one side of each and every one of us that desires to find a voice so that we can find resolution. Whether it’s writing prose or poetry, taking photos, drawing stick figures…we all have something to express. Maybe that’s why I connected so strongly with Hamlet 2. His chosen art form is live theatre, the stage. For the past year I’ve found myself producing stage plays…pouring myself into it in fact. Trying to transcend the typical.
Dana’s story transcends even his own personal longings and we see how art when it is drawn out of someone’s soul can connect, relate and even change the audience that’s viewing it. Make us think about things beyond the sometimes polarizing surface. Or as in my case…inspiring me to continue what I’m doing to full effect.
The show Marschz works on…well the less talked about it the better, because it’s really quite hilarious and moving all at once. And it’s nice to see a film that unexpectedly moves you.
P.S. Most of the people that poorly reviewed this film on rottentomatoes.com really didn’t seem to get the film or the meaning behind why Marschz decides to make a sequel to Hamlet. It’s not a spoof of Hamlet. And not every moment of this film is meant to be funny. Much of it is meant to be brutally honest which allows us to understand and care that much more for the Marschz character and his need to create art in an effort to exorcise his demons.