“To be or not to be?” That question has gripped so many Hamlets throughout the ages. Audiences witnessed the stunning opening of Hamlet in the David Chu Theatre on Feb. 17 to 20.
This inspiring co-production, with the Bishop Strachan School’s theatre program, was a fitting tribute to the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. It kept audience members on the edge of their seats: the show was cast gender blind and included unconventional staging, physical and emotional combat, and wondrous technical achievement.
Under the skillful direction of Dale Churchward and co-producer Heather Crawford, the cast of 13 did not disappoint. Nicholas Czegledy was a convincing young Hamlet, tortured by the events that befell his father and family. Trish Rooney played Gertrude opposite her new husband and king Claudius, played by Atef Abedin. Jake Bradshaw appeared as the Ghost of King Hamlet, returning to remind young Hamlet to revenge his death. Jack van Nostrand provided perfectly delivered comic relief as Corambis.
Other key roles were played by Kate Urquhart in the role of Ofelia, Abigail Holland as Leartes, Theo Iordache as Horatio, Jocelyn Roy as Gilderstone, Isabel Coleman as Rossencraft, Jeff Collins as Marcellus, Kate Fanjoy as Cornelius and Max Allen as Bernardo.
The play came to a riveting finale with the final sword-fight scene and the tragic end to the state of Denmark as Fortenbrasse swept in with his thugs to clean up the remains. The stunning technical direction was carefully choreographed and planned by Imran Jessa and Ernest Leung with the guidance of Old Boy Justis Danto-Clancy and the support of stage managers Anne McGrath and Can Hepkarabelli. Jack Sarick and John Mace were the tech crew.
In addition, Tessa Oxtoby and Sean Manucha were the amazing stagehands, Simon Fon the fight director and Benjamin Caldwell the fight captain. Rindy Bradshaw and Diane Rothman provided costume design. The show was promoted with a highly stylized trailer produced by Robert Wong with the direction and guidance of David Crawford. James Potts created compelling posters and tickets; his photography captured the essence of this innovative production.
-Arts Booster Club