Reid Edelman (Claudius), Andread McCullough (Gertrude), and Billy Hetherington (Hamlet)
SHAKESPEARE'S HAMLET HAUNTS MENDOCINO COLLEGE STAGE
The ghost of a dead king, murdered by his evil brother, appears to his living son to demand vengeance for his untimely death. The haunting tale of Shakespeare’s Hamlet is bone chilling stuff, and will fittingly open on the Mendocino College stage in time for Halloween. The production is a collaboration of the Mendocino College Theatre Arts Department and the Willits Shakespeare Company. Willits Shakespeare Company members Billy Hetherington and Bryan Arnold have spent several years developing this taut adaptation of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy. The original script has been pared to a shorter running time and features some surprising twists. As directed by Bryan Arnold, the play will focus on the nature of Hamlet’s insanity, containing hints that the play may be unfolding in the twisted caverns of Hamlet’s disturbed mind. It is creepy stuff, all brought to life by an extraordinary ensemble of Mendocino College and Willits Shakespeare Company actors. Hamlet runs at Mendocino College for two weekends only October 28-November 7.
Arnold’s production is a study of evil and insanity, and Hamlet (played by Billy Hetherington) must navigate in a world in which delusion and reality are inseparable. The setting will evoke an Edwardian carnival, with evocative costumes designed by college costume instructor Kathy Dingman-Katz and executed by students in her costume construction class. The set design, by college theatre technician Larry Lang, will feature a disorienting world of inverted arches and staircases, all expressing a sense of Hamlet’s contorted reality. Original music and sound effects by composer Keith Canova and sound designer David Wolf will further support the sense of the play’s nightmarish world. As the plot unfolds, Hamlet’s precarious existence becomes more and more threatened. In addition to Hamlet’s demonic uncle (played by college theatre director Reid Edelman), a cadre of disturbed characters keep Hamlet dangerously off balance. In this production, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet’s deceitful friends, are condensed into a single schizophrenic character (played by Brittani Ray), and his mother, Gertrude (played by Andrea McCullough), is an alcoholic pill-popping addict. Indeed, in Arnold’s vision, mental dysfunction is a running theme. Late in the play when a raving Ophelia (played by Kristy Tucker) enters for her famous mad scene, it is already well established that sanity is a fragile notion. Indeed, the character of Horatio, Hamlet’s one loyal friend, may exist only as a figment of the young prince’s imagination.
Other members of the outstanding acting company include Martin Squier as Ophelia’s brother Laertes, and Randy Moore as their pedantic father Polonius. The ensemble also includes Susan Keegan, Gary Hudson, Charles Hessom, and Amanda Walczykowski. Arnold’s nightmarish vision is also supported by the use of an elaborate puppet (designed by Maxx Kurzunski), a stiltwalker (Chuck Wilson) and an aerial silks sequence (featuring Circus MeCCA guest artist Kameko).
Hamlet will feature hair and make-up designed by Amanda Katz, Sara Thuer and Liz Hetherington. The production is being stage managed by student Kelsey Marcott. In addition to designing the show’s puppets, student Maxx Kurzunski has provided invaluable support as both the production’s assistant director and assistant producer.
Hamlet opens on Thursday October 28, 2010. Performances will run for two weekends only, through November 7. Performances are Thursday October 28 at 7:30 PM, Friday October 29 at 8 PM, Saturday October 30 at 8 PM, Thursday November 4 at 7:30 PM, Friday November 5 at 8 PM, Saturday November 6 at 8 PM and Sunday November 7 at 2 PM. Tickets ($15 general; $12 students and seniors) are available at the Mendocino Book Company, at the Mendocino College Bookstore, and online at www.ArtsMendocino.org. Audiences are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance, though tickets may also be purchased at the door.
Hamlet is one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays, and will be particularly engaging in this fast-paced new adaptation. However, the play does contain moments of violence and sexuality, and is recommended for mature audiences. The show is not recommended for children under the age of 13. For more detailed information about the production, please visit the college Theatre Department web site at www.mendocino.edu/theater/deptindex.html. For additional information, call (707) 468-3172.
Created: October 12, 2010 @ 10:59 AM
Last Modified: February 23, 2011 @ 04:25 PM