Focus on Community/Arts
Shakespeare That We Can Understand

Posted on Monday, April 02, 2007


 

WYE MILLS – When the Peake Players of Chesapeake College open their upcoming production of Hamlet on April 6th, it will be unlike any Shakespeare production you are likely to have seen. Although the costumes and set will be relatively faithful to the period of Shakespeare´s classic tragedy, the dialogue will be totally in English. Modern English, that is. English the way we know it and can understand it.

Director Anita Tecce has "translated" the Bard´s often-produced classic into language that even the most un-Shakespearean theatre-goer will be able to understand clearly. This is quite a radical approach, says Tecce. "Usually when Shakespeare is modernized, the time period, clothing, and set are changed, but the language inexplicably remains Elizabethan. Most audience members are lost within five minutes and have no idea what´s going on. The actors might as well be speaking a foreign language."

This is a shame, says Tecce, because the plots and characterization of Shakespeare are so brilliant and they are lost due to the "language barrier." While Tecce—who taught English literature on the college level for many years before switching to theatre— is certainly not unaware of the beauty of Shakespeare´s language, she feels that it is a worthwhile trade-off. A little of the linguistic beauty may be sacrificed, but a world of understanding is gained in its place. She is hopeful that this production will bring Shakespeare to a large number of people who may not have experienced his work previously.

Another innovation of this production will be the addition of a Saturday night dinner theatre performance, which will be a benefit performance to assist the Peake Players scholarship fund for student actors.

The production, entitled Hamlet: A Modern Adaptation, will be presented in the Todd Performing Arts Center of Chesapeake College. It will feature Chesapeake student Josh Haddock in the title role of Hamlet. Other Chesapeake students include Becca Barringer as Gertrude, Lauren Wannemacher as Ophelia, Tony Jefferson as Rosencrantz, Bethany Price as Guildenstern, Teejay Ford as Marcellus, Nancy Caldeira as a female Polonius, Chris Bergling as Bernardo, and Megan Russum and Allison Valliant as ladies of the court. They will be assisted by community members Rick Willis as Claudius, Bruce Grove as Laertes, Rondell Johnson as Horatio, and Sarah Crump as Cornelius. Rick Willis will also serve as Assistant Director and Tony Jefferson as Stage Manager. Many of the actors will double in additional roles. The lighting and sound board will be run by Chesapeake students Chase Gordon and Jarrod Moaney, respectively.

Evening performances will be Friday and Saturday, April 6th and 7th, and Friday, April 13th, at 7:30 P.M. There will be two matinees, one on Thursday April 12th, and the other on Sunday, April 15th, at 2:30 P.M. On Saturday, April 14th, dinner will begin at 6:00 and will be followed by a performance at 7:30.

Admission is $10 for general admission and $8 for students of any school and seniors 62 and over. Dinner theatre is $40 for buffet dinner, dessert, and show, but patrons are welcome to attend only the performance for the regular admission price.

Reservations are not required for any of the regular performances. Tickets will be sold at the door. Reservations are, however, required for the dinner theatre. For information, call 410-822-5400, extension 278. Please leave a message and someone will return your call as soon as possible.

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