“To see or not to see,” that is the question Theatre TCU is asking the community in its presentation of “Hamlet,” the last show of the 2008 Main Stage season.
The show is the first Shakespearean play to be produced on campus in four years and will be performed in the original text, said Andrew Milbourn, who is playing Hamlet. The play would normally run more than four hours, but it has been cut down to save time, he said.
The show is set in the 1800s, allowing for the cast members to wear costumes from that time period rather than the tights and dresses of the Elizabethan era.
“The Regency period was very proper – think Pride and Prejudice,” said Meg Bauman, who plays Ophelia.
Like most college performers, the actors have more work than just learning lines. Milbourn said he watched other versions of the show to learn more about performing the title role in addition to learning to fence.
“He is such a big character and there are so many sides to him,” Milbourn said. “There’s a lot of research going into it.”
For two days during Spring Break, Catherine Weidner, director of the Shakespeare Theatre Co. at George Washington University, worked with the cast to help them understand their lines through discussion and some research with the Oxford English Dictionary.
“The same stuff that took us two days to do would’ve taken me easily weeks by myself,” said Babs Ipaye, who plays King Claudius.
Having worked with Theatre TCU previously during the 2004 production of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” Weidner said she was invited by theater department chair Harry Parker and production director T.J. Walsh to work with the “Hamlet” cast.
“To allow another director to come in shows a tremendous amount of professionalism and lack of ego,” Weidner said. “I think it says a lot about (Parker and Walsh).”
According to the Theatre TCU Web site, the most recent department production of “Hamlet” was nearly 50 years ago, which has some cast members excited about the changes that each production brings.
“This is the same school, same age group, same department, and yet it’s completely different,” Ipaye said. “It’s ‘Hamlet,’ but it’s our show that we get to share with whoever comes to see it.”
For Your Info
Theatre TCU’s “Hamlet”
When: April 15 to 18 @ 7:30 p.m
April 19 to 20 @ 2:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.
Where: Hays Theatre
Admission: $10 for public; $5 for students, faculty/staff and senior citizens