When director Claire Slavovsky and lead actor Matthew Mindeman considered whether to produce Hamlet for his senior project, Mindeman initially hesitated to choose such a well-known and challenging play. He came to realize, however, that many people have only read the script or viewed the film—fewer have had the opportunity to see it in person.
Slavovsky hopes that the production can capitalize on the power of live theater to animate this familiar story through engaging an "in-house" audience ― a benefit often lost in this digital age. "Experiencing stories together is an important part of community — it creates cohesion," she says. "Not just the community of the cast and crew, but also the college and even the city." In an age of instantaneously available stories on Netflix and Youtube – often viewed in isolation – she hopes to give the crowd the sensation that they are participating with the story as a group, instead of simply passively watching a story unfold as an individual.
"Especially compared to a movie of Hamlet, I think going to see this production and be present with this production is perhaps more active and engaging than you're used to," says Mindeman. "I want the audience to experience Hamlet fresh for the first time as a story, without the cultural baggage."
While the show will employ techniques that create more of a shared experience for the audience, this production of Hamlet will not seem foreign to those who have read or viewed the tragedy before. The production will be set in the court at Elsinore, complete with opulent royal costuming and swashbuckling swordplay. Mindeman will be joined on stage by Junior Abi Ogle as Ophelia, Senior Rob Schonthaler as King Claudius, and Junior Sammie Brown as Queen Gertrude. English professor Cliff Foreman will appear as the Ghost. Alumnus John Reeder will lead musical accompaniment he composed for the production.
Hamlet plays November 11, 12, and 18 at 7:30 p.m. and November 19 at 2 p.m with $7 tickets for adults and $5 for seniors, students, and staff. Visitors can also attend a final dress rehearsal on November 10 with $5 tickets for adults and $3 for seniors, students, and staff. There will be a discussion panel after the show November 19. To reserve tickets or ask any questions, call the box office at (706) 419-1051 or firstname.lastname@example.org.