New Perspectives Theatre Company Ends Run of HAMLET 5/23

New Perspectives Theatre Company (Melody Brooks, Artistic Director) will end its run of Hamlet, its first main stage Shakespeare play since losing its Pelican Studio Theatre four years ago, on May 23rd. The production is directed by Melody Brooks at Shetler Studios' Theatre 54 (244 West 54th St., 12th Floor).

New Perspectives Theatre Company's track record with the Bard has been a good one, winning critical acclaim for its innovative stagings of Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, Othello and Julius Caesar, as well as an OOBR Award for its Burlesque production of The Taming of the Shrew.

Hamlet will continue in this tradition, offering a singular NPTC vision for this play that incorporates historical, scholarly and theatrical research in a highly physical production.

Considered by some to be one of the "problem" plays, theatre practitioners, literary critics and average folks have debated the true meaning of this play for centuries. Is Hamlet actually a tragic hero? Is his lunacy feigned, or is there some deep misogyny lurking in his antics? Is it bi-polar disorder? An Oedipal Complex?

NPTC has looked at some fascinating but relatively obscure scholarship tying the structure of the script to The Book of Revelation! Author Linda Kay Hoff makes a compelling case, identifying the parallel elements in the play and the Bible, and puts forth a convincing argument as to Hamlet's viewpoint from a 16th Century perspective and the almost century-long religious wars that took place after Henry VIII's establishment of the Church of England. The Book of Revelation was very much on Protestant minds.

As always, NPTC takes the source material, existing scholarship and the First Folio version of the play, and applies these to our contemporary world in order to find our own "perspective." What we have "found" is that concern with The Book of Revelation and "end times" has once again entered the POLITICAL realm and it's deeply disturbing. NPTC's vision of Doomsday isn't quite the one that the Apostle John "witnessed."

The production team includes Meganne George (production designer) and David L. Schulder (sound and video designer). The cast includes Bill Blechingberg (Claudius), Bernardo Cubria (Hamlet), Jenny Greeman (Ophelia), C. Amanda Maud (Gertrude), Rafael Jordan (Horatio), Kim Sullivan (Polonius), Terrell Tilford (Laertes), James Edward Becton, Amanda Johnson, Mikaela Lynn Johnson, StEve Lynn, Ray Rodriguez and Kerry Watterson.

NEW PERSPECTIVES THEATRE COMPANY is an award-winning, multi-racial company performing in the Broadway Theatre District and in communities throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The Company's mission is to develop and produce new plays and playwrights, especially women and people of color, to present classic plays in a style that addresses contemporary issues, and to extend the benefits of theatre to young people and communities in need. Our aim is not to exclude, but to cast a wider net. Now in its 18th season, notable NPTC productions have included Richard III, starring Austin Pendleton; Exhibit #9 by Tracy Wilson (1999Audelco Award); Jihad by Ann Chamberlain (1996 OOBR Award for Best Production); The Taming of the Shrew (2002 OOBR Award for Best Production), Admissions by Tony Velella (10 Best Plays of 1995, Backstage); the U.S. premiere of Visit by world-renowned Argentinean playwright Ricardo Monti; and the New York Premieres of Vaclav Havel's The Increased Difficulty of Concentration, The Shaneequa Chronicles, written and performed by 2001 OBIE Award-winner Stephanie Berry (produced with Blackberry Productions), and Lemon Meringue Façade by Ted Lange, along with several innovative Shakespeare productions.

MELODY BROOKS (Director/Dramaturge) has directed many of NPT'Cs innovative classic productions. With Vebeke Lunn Fazakerley of Primary Sauces in London, she created a unique production of Macbeth in 1997 that included an authentic medieval banquet as a central part of the action. The production was performed at Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine as well as at NPTC. A second production of Macbeth was performed at Washington Square United Methodist Church in 2002. She has also directed the NPTC productions of Romeo & Juliet, Julius Caesar, Othello, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Miss Julie, and the NY Premiere of Vaclev Havel's The Increased Diffifulty of Concentration. In addition, she served as dramaturge and co-director on NPTC's OOBR award-winning production of The Taming of the Shrew. Ms. Brooks has also developed and directed a number original scripts with the company, notably Exhibit #9 by Tracey Scott Wilson, a satire on the African American Experience (AUDELCO Award); Jihad by Ann Chamberlin, a mystical examination of the influence of gender and religion in war (OOBR Award); and Anatomy of a Love Affair by Deirdre Hollman, an intense look at an interracial relationship ending afer eight years (optioned by Essence Entertainment). Other developmental directing credits for NPTC include Everyday Somewhere Here: Letters From Palestine and Israel, a multi-media piece created in collaboration with Benji Rgoers and based on his travels to the region which premiered as a work-in-progress in January '08 and Finding Home by Keline Adams, starring Marcella Lowery, which was presented as a work-in-progress in NPTC's Voices From The Edge Festival in October 2007. She also helped to create the solo shows Untitled and Unfinished, written and performed by Yolanda Wilkinson and presented at NPTC, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and the Downtown Urban Theatre Festival; Touchscape, written and performed by James Scruggs for the Queer at HERE Festival, and Chewin' da Fat on Life, a work-in-progress by OBIE-Award winner Stephanie Berry. Ms. Brooks also created and directs NPTC's Shakespeare Made Simple Program, which offers performance, training and staff development activites to schools in the Tri-State area. This year she is delighted to be helping The School for Classics, a brand new high school in East New York with a classical theatre-centered curriculum get up and running. Ms. Brooks is also supervising a new and fruitful partnership with The Classical Theatre Of Harlem, Project Classics, an afterschool drama program for children living in public housing in Harlem.



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