Morehead State University Theatre is presenting one of Shakespeare’s most beloved tragedies this month.
“Hamlet” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. March 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7; and at 2 p.m. on March 8 at The Lucille Caudill Little Theatre in Breckinridge Hall. Tickets are $11, $6 for seniors and non-MSU students, and free with ID to MSU students.
The play follows the story of Hamlet, the prince of Denmark, as he seeks to avenge the death of his father, King Hamlet, by killing his uncle Claudius. Motivated by apparent interactions with the ghost of his deceased father, he plots to eliminate his uncle, who is responsible for the king’s death, who currently occupies the throne and who is married to Gertrude, Prince Hamlet’s mother.
Greg Carlisle, associate professor of theatre at MSU and the play’s director, said he wanted to stay true to Shakespeare’s work while using production elements to make it more engaging to the audience. In addition to the show’s colorful and vibrant costumes, the set will use a curtain as a centerpiece with multi-leveled platforms to accommodate the story and allow seamless shifts between internal and external locations. The entire ensemble of 16 actors sit on cubes that surround the stage and are ready to enter the story at a moment’s notice.
“This creates a sense of intimacy and immediacy to the story that includes the audience members who are sitting right there on the edge of the stage with the actors,” he said.
Carlisle said whether it is production design, acting out passages from the play’s dialogue to resemble film flashbacks or having a cast much more diverse than the one that would have presented the production in Shakespeare’s day (there are six men and 10 women, including a female title-character), everyone involved has enjoyed taking a timeless classic into somewhat different territory.
“Since the advent of realism as a dominant mode of storytelling, ‘Hamlet’ has often been presented as a brooding, philosophical play, but our production strives for the Shakespearean authenticity of balancing that serious contemplation with humor, songs and swordplay,” Carlisle said. “I took the approach that Hamlet is a play that welcomes the exploration of dramatic potential.
(Morehead State University)