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William Shakespeare's masterpiece Hamlet appears on one stage at the same time as a related play, Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead runs on the other stage according to Tim Shane, Artistic Director. Performed by one cast for two different audiences, the plays run on Friday and Saturday evenings from January 23 through February 7, beginning at 8:15 pm. A Sunday matinee on January 25 begins at 2:30 p.m. Tickets range from $15 to $30 for the shows, or you can buy a package deal for $45 that has VIP admission to each show. Both stages are at Dallas Hub Theater, 2809 Canton Street, Dallas, TX 75226.

One of the greatest plays in English literature, the 408-year-old Hamlet recounts the tragedy of a Danish Prince who embarks on an introspective journey to avenge his father's murder. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead-first presented in 1966-is a comedic flip side, viewing the events of Hamlet from the perspective of Hamlet's two friends. In both plays, the friends are summoned by the King to provide insight into the prince's behavior. They quickly find themselves entangled in the complex plot.

A single cast pulls double duty, with exits from one play becoming entrances for the other. Although each play can stand on its own, audiences viewing one are encouraged to return another night to see the other to experience the full effect. It does not matter which show they see first, Shane says, but limited seating makes reservations advisable.

Shane, known for his fun and entertaining approaches to Shakespeare with such shows as Shakespearean Death Match, Commedia dell'Shakespeare and Commedia dell'Carte-the regular preshow fixture at the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas from 1994-2002-says Hamlet and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead have been his favorites throughout his career. "I have always wanted to do both," he says. The two plays are often presented together, either in repertory with the same company or, on rare occasions, simultaneously with different companies and casts. However, the dual performance spaces at the Dallas Hub Theater make it possible to synchronize the two shows with one cast. "This creates a thrill ride for both the actors and the audience," says Shane.

Many of DFW's finest actors have signed on to the project but most- including co-director Jason Fitzmaurice- were skeptical that simultaneous productions were possible. Fitzmaurice has been working with Shane since 2001 and directed a stage adaptation of A Midwinter's Tale at the Hub last year. "Most actors were wary that we would have to cut the shows to shreds to make this work," Shane acknowledges, "but Stoppard's piece is fully intact and we made surprisingly few cuts in Hamlet. With our simultaneous productions, you get all the Shakespeare in half the time."

Talented performers who are taking on this challenging endeavor include longtime Core Ensemble Member and critically acclaimed actor Jeff Swearingen as Hamlet. Often applauded for his comic genius on multiple Dallas stages, Swearingen infuses the part with energy and stamina that will bring a fresh outlook to the notoriously gloomy Dane, according to Shane. Hot off their success with Topdog/Underdog, Christopher Dontrell Piper and David Jeremiah bring their chemistry to the title roles of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern respectively, while their Upstart Productions Artistic Director Josh Glover takes the stage as Horatio. Adam Dietrich, Artistic Director of The Butterfly Connection and longtime Hip Pocket performer, acts as both The Player and Laertes. He most recently appeared at the Hub in the lead role for the world premier of The Crash At Crush. The cast also includes Core Ensemble Member Daniel St. Clair, most recently seen in Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound at the Hub. Fiona Norton and Matt Fowler, seen in The Hub's dinner theater series in 2008, make their main stage debut as Gertrude and Claudius respectively. Both stages are excited to welcome Rebekah Grayson, Rich Raymond, Tony Hawkins and Heath Billups, all making their debut with SATER and the Dallas Hub Theater, Shane says.


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