All performances are Tuesdays through Sundays at 7:30pm.
June 20th – July 14th Directed by Saul Elkin
No play of Shakespeare is more familiar to modern audiences and students.
King Hamlet of Denmark has died –supposedly of a snake bite while sleeping in his orchard. His wife, Gertrude, marries his brother, Claudius, within weeks. Prince Hamlet, his son, has returned from school for the funeral, the wedding of his mother and coronation of his uncle. Hamlet is visited by the ghost of his father who tells him that Claudius murdered him by pouring poison in his ear while he slept. The Ghost wants his son to avenge his death, but not to harm his mother (“Leave her to heaven”). Hamlet is torn between wanting to obey his father and his fear of committing a murder, after all, the Ghost could be the Devil in disguise. He feels abandoned by Ophelia, the young woman he has loved, betrayed by his friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and contemplates suicide (“To be or not to be.”). With the help of his one true friend, Horatio, he asks a troupe of visiting actors to reenact the murder of his father, hoping that Claudius’ will help him determine if what the Ghost told him was true (“The play’s the thing wherein I‘ll catch the conscience of the king’). The play goes on, Claudius reacts, and Hamlet is convinced of his guilt. In the meantime Hamlet has accidentally killed Polonius (Father of Ophelia and his friend Laertes). Ophelia in despair over the death of her father has accidentally (maybe) drowned herself. Claudius, who now realizes that Hamlet is on to him, enlists Laertes in a fencing match with Hamlet. Laertes has poisoned the tip of his sword, and Claudius has also prepared a cup of poisoned wine should Hamlet ask for a drink. During the competition the Queen toasts Hamlet with the poisoned wine before Claudius can stop her, Hamlet is scratched by Laertes poisoned sword-tip, the swords fall to the ground and gets switched and Hamlet picks up Laertes sword and gives him a fatal cut. As he dies, Laertes confesses the plot with Claudius. Hamlet forces Claudius to drink the poisoned wine and as Hamlet dies he leaves the kingdom to Fortinbras, Prince of Norway. Gertrude is dead, Claudius is dead, Laertes is dead and Hamlet dies in the arms of his friend Horatio (“Goodnight sweet prince and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest”).
Measure for Measure
July 25th – August 18th Directed by Brian Cavanagh
Measure for Measure has been classified as one of Shakespeare’s comedies; however, it is also referred to as a “problem play” because it cannot easily be described as either a tragedy or comedy.
William Shakespeare set the play in Vienna (the only Shakespearean play to be set in Vienna) and also a city, which Shakespeare himself probably never visited.
Our production has been transferred from the traditional, to an American Western. Our story will take place in the dirty, border town of Vienna, Texas. Circa 1890.
The plot centers on Angelo, who has been empowered to rule his land by The Duke of Vienna, while he wanders about disguised as a Friar to investigate the moral decay of his kingdom. Resorting to an old law against pre-marital sex to enforce strict standards of morality, Angelo proceeds to sentence anyone convicted of the “crime” to death. One of these is Claudio, who has been imprisoned and condemned to death for having relations with his own fiancé. Claudio’s sister Isabella goes to Angelo to plead for her brother’s life. The not so angelic Angelo is immediately taken with Isabella and uses his power to blackmail Isabella. He will free her brother if she will come to bed with him. Fortunately, the disguised Duke becomes aware of Angelo’s plan. He arranges a device where, Mariana, a woman from Angelo’s past is substituted for Isabella in Angelo’s bed. Angelo is punished, Claudio is freed, and he and his fiancé live happily ever after.