Town & Gown Hamlet

Of any play, this is the one I know the best. In 7th grade, we were supposed to do this play. Not an abridged version, but the whole thing. I was only Barnardo, and even memorizing that stressed me to the breaking point. Thankfully, I was able to transfers schools and get out of it. At the new school, in 8th grade we just read it because 9th grade did Romeo and Juliet and I got Polonius. Then we read it again in 10th grade for British Lit where I got Laertes and watched the local college production. How did I get out of having to study it in college? Oh. Those English courses were about writing and none were British Lit. And I’ve somehow seen Oliver, Branaugh, Gibson, Tennant, and Hawke all play Hamlet in movies.

Which made me wonder if I really wanted to see it at the local community theatre. How much is enough?

I try to see something from the Town & Gown Players at least once a season and thought I had not. So I gave it a shot. In retrospect, I reviewed their calendar and saw “See How They Run” at the start of the season. So the at least once reasoning only applied because I relied on very faulty memory.

This Hamlet was pretty good. No surprises like everyone lives. Lines were delivered pretty well. The costumes looked appropriate. Either I never noticed or forgot Hamlet comparing his father to several Roman / Greek gods. Or maybe it was in how the lines were delivered. Here is the speech and in bold the gods.

Look here upon this picture and on this,
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.
See, what a grace was seated on this brow?
Hyperion’s curls, the front of Jove himself,
An eye like Mars to threaten and command,
A station like the herald Mercury
New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill—
A combination and a form indeed
Where every god did seem to set his seal

I also enjoyed the little things like Ophelia and Laertes, sister and brother, elbowing each other while Polonius, their father, delivered his big monologue. The set design was very simple and versatile. Unlike other plays I’ve T&G do, the actors did not have to change the set every scene. Because of this, scenes changed by actors leaving the stage and not needing to go dark.

It will be around one more weekend.

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