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TOPIC: A New HAMLET

A New HAMLET 8 years 5 months ago #2183

  • Arlene Schulman
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Hi All...

Just wanted to let everyone know that I'll be directing a new interpretation of Hamlet for the Woodward Shakespeare Festival in Fresno, CA this summer. Performance dates are Thursday-Saturday evenings, August 14 - September 13 at 8pm. Tickets are free.

In my recent studies at The Shakespeare Institute's MA "Shakespeare and Theatre" program in Stratford-upon-Avon, I became increasingly intrigued with the characters of Ophelia and Gertrude, their relationships with Hamlet and Claudius, and their place within the action of the play. Shakespeare has written so many strong, bold, independent women, both before and after Hamlet - Juliet, Kate, Beatrice, Rosalind, Viola, Lady Macbeth, Desdemona... How then is it possible that, in what is arguably his greatest play, certainly his most emotionally complex, the two central female characters are almost always portrayed as victims - emotional doormats to be manipulated, abused and bullied by the men in their lives? I've simply never been able to read the play that way or to reconcile myself that this is what Shakespeare had in mind when he wrote them. Is there another way to interpret their intentions and actions in the play than the way that has been handed down to us through over 400 years of tradition? I decided to write my MA dissertation on that subject and, being a stage director more than a literary scholar, to base my written dissertation on the exploration of those ideas in a fully staged production of Hamlet in which, as director, I could put my thesis into action. I proposed an alternative approach to the roles of Gertrude and Ophelia, re-envisioning both characters as more active participants in the events of the play than are traditionally presented; portraying Ophelia and Gertrude as active co-conspirators in the action of the play - Ophelia with Hamlet, and Gertrude with Claudius. To my surprise, some of the world's foremost Shakespeare scholars who teach at and head the Institute were excited about my proposal and approved it enthusiastically.

Now the Woodward Shakespeare Festival has given me the opportunity to bring my thesis to life on the stage. We have a fabulous cast and are just about to begin rehearsals. I can't wait to immerse myself in the creation of the world of this new Hamlet for audiences to see for the first time. And if you are going to be in the Fresno area this summer, please join us and find out if you find this new approach as intriguing as I do!
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A New HAMLET 8 years 5 months ago #2184

  • akfarrar
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Good luck!

(Or break some part of the anatomy?)

:D
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A New HAMLET 8 years 5 months ago #2186

  • Arlene Schulman
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Thanks!

(Hopefully I won't break anything important!)

Arlene

- and chance are, at some time or another, I won't agree with you - but that's what makes it fun!
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A New HAMLET 8 years 3 months ago #2270

  • Denise Battista
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Hey Arlene,

Wish I could make it up to review. Do let us know the success of your run.

Cheers to old times at the Shakespeare Institute!

Denise
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A New HAMLET 8 years 3 months ago #2272

  • Charles Pecadore
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This is grand news, I have watched your career flourish via Shakespeare forums over the years and applaud your devotion to the bard and now your opportunity to direct Hamlet. Since it is not possible for most of us, a widely scattered group, to see your play, I hope you will YouTube many of the scenes (perhaps from rehearsals) that reflect your perception of Gertrude and Ophelia.

Break a leg
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