The Contemporary Theater Company Will Present HAMLET
This October and November, the Contemporary Theater Company tackles arguably one of the greatest plays ever written, Hamlet by William Shakespeare. The show opens October 18 and runs through November 16.
Over hundreds of years, Hamlet has been endlessly popular and influential with countless productions and adaptations.
"The costume and props of the production will largely ring true to a 1600 aesthetic, making it a "traditional" staging," says Hamlet's director Chris Simpson who also serves as Artistic Director. "However, the term often leads to audiences anticipating a stodgy, "classical" show - and that's rather specifically something we're looking to avoid."
The production's approach is grounded in real people dealing with real problems in ways audiences today can relate to.
"The way we approach the text feels pretty modern," says Tammy Brown who is playing Hamlet and also serves as Associate Artistic Director. "We're rooting ourselves in clarity, simplicity, and honesty - no showy, overblown "Shakespearean" acting."
The Contemporary Theater Company is known for transforming their space with new stages for every show. For Hamlet, they have even reinvented the audience seating.
"We use every square inch of the building, and we still haven't exhausted all of the staging possibilities in our 7 years at 327 Main Street," says Simpson. "Our stage runs down the middle of the room, with a new audience section custom-built in what is normally the "backstage" part of the room."
The theater is a big proponent of casting the best actors for the roles, which can lead to non-traditional casting, particularly in their Shakespeare productions; this summer neither gentleman in Two Gentlemen of Verona was played by a man. In casting Hamlet, the artistic crew was interested in getting a diverse cast of talented actors.
"I believe that we best serve our audience and society as a whole when the stories and images we present reflect both the world in which we live, and the diversity of experiences that make it up," says Brown. "Theatre is a living, breathing art form so when we treat our work as though we're preserving something from the past, I think it makes it feel more like a dead thing. So, sure, you could do Hamlet with an all-white cast, 90% of whom are men, but I guarantee that show isn't going to feel as current or relevant to our modern times as if you spiced it up a bit."
Tickets are available on the theater's website, by calling the box office, or at the theater.
Tickets: Adult - $25, 25 & Under - $15, Senior Sundays - $18,
Previews - Pay-What-You-Can ($18 in advance)
The Contemporary Theater Company Performance Patio, 321 Main Street, Wakefield, RI 02879
Photo Credit: Seth Jacobson Photography