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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Stratford Festival's Hamlet starts previews



Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino’s Hamlet
begins previews

May 1, 2015… Jonathan Goad plays the title role in Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino’s visually arresting and emotionally charged production of Hamlet, one of the most renowned and celebrated of all Shakespearean tragedies. Previews began Friday, May 1, at the Festival Theatre and the production opens the 2015 season on Monday, May 25.

Last season, Mr. Goad was lauded for his Kent in King Lear, and for his remarkable versatility as he alternated the roles of Titania and Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He is well remembered for his impassioned portrayals of such key characters as the title role in The Adventures of Pericles in 2003, the Bastard in the 2004 production of King John, Iago in 2007’s Othello, Mark Antony in 2009’s Julius Caesar and Hippolytus in Phèdre that same year.

Combining elements of ghost story, political thriller and murder mystery in a drama that has fascinated critics and audiences throughout the centuries, Hamlet centres on the brooding Prince of Denmark, who discovers that his late father was murdered – by his own brother, now married to Hamlet’s mother. Sworn to vengeance by his father’s ghost, Hamlet struggles to reconcile that vow with his own sense of justice and moral integrity, as he embarks on a mission that proves far harder than he had anticipated. 


The production’s stellar cast features Seana McKenna as Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, and Geraint Wyn Davies as Claudius, her new husband and brother to Hamlet’s father, with Tim Campbell as Horatio, Adrienne Gould as Ophelia, Tom Rooney as Polonius and Mike Shara as Laertes.
“In Hamlet, as in our own lives, death is never far away,” says Mr. Cimolino, reflecting on the play’s place in this season’s theme of Discovery. “Hamlet is a young man trying to find justice in this world – our world as much as his. In the end, he settles for revenge and death, including his own.

“The play takes place in a world almost at war. The old heroic king has died. His brother, the new king, has ushered in a modern age – practical, politic and steeped in corruption. Our point of departure in this staging is the birth of the modern age – just before the start of the Great War in 1914 – but since the story’s relevance defies limitation to one era, time in our production is changeable and compressed, and the world begins to look more and more like our own.”

Mr. Cimolino, whose riveting production of King Lear last season entered the record books as one of the Festival’s top-selling Shakespeare productions of all time, has a string of passionate and moving productions to his credit, including The Merchant of Venice, Cymbeline and the sold-out production of Mary Stuart. Later this season, he will direct Mr. Goad, Stephen Ouimette and Scott Wentworth in Ben Jonson’s comedy The Alchemist.

The music for Hamlet has been composed by Steven Page. This is the fifth collaboration between Mr. Page and Mr. Cimolino, an artistic relationship that stretches back to 2005’s As You Like It.

The artistic team also includes Designer Teresa Przybylski, Lighting Designer Michael Walton, Sound Designer Thomas Ryder Payne, Fight Director John Stead and Movement Director Shona Morris.

Production support is generously provided by Drs. M.L. Myers & the late W.P. Hayman, Jane Petersen Burfield & family, Esther & Sam Sarick in honour of Antoni Cimolino, Barbara & John Schubert, and Catherine & David Wilkes.

Support for the 2015 season of the Festival Theatre is generously provided by Claire & Daniel Bernstein.

Hamlet Forum Highlights

The Stratford Festival Forum is a series of activities and events, including fascinating talks, interactive presentations, concerts, comedy shows and performances, that offer theatregoers a unique opportunity to delve further into the ideas and issues raised by the 2015 playbill and its theme of Discovery: That Eureka Moment.

Themes related to Hamlet will be explored through several Forum events, including:

·         Being Hamlet
Wednesday, July 29, 10:45 a.m. to noon
Chalmers Lounge, Avon Theatre
Actors Ben Carlson, Brent Carver, Jonathan Goad and Stephen Ouimette have all tackled the role of Hamlet at the Festival. They come together to discuss the impact of playing this seminal role on their lives and work in this special panel moderated by Paul Kennedy.

·         Hamlet’s Appeal
Saturday, September 12, 10 to 11:30 a.m.
Festival Theatre
Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin returns to preside over the appeal of Hamlet in the murder of Polonius. Dr. David Goldbloom stars as an expert witness for the defence.
o   This event will be live streamed: http://stratfordfestival.ca/livestream
 
·         Playing With Words in Love’s Labour’s Lost and Hamlet
Sunday, June 21, 10:30 to noon
Studio Theatre
Hamlet and Love’s Labour’s Lost – a great tragedy and an early comedy – both call on the actors’ skill with a range of different kinds of comic writing. Russell Jackson explores this vital element of Shakespeare’s world of entertainment in discussion with Seana McKenna and Juan Chioran.
Sustaining support for the Forum is generously provided by Kelly & Michael Meighen and the T.R. Meighen Family Foundation.
Support for the 2015 season of the Forum is provided in memory of Dr. W. Philip Hayman.

Stratford Direct, the daily return private bus service, now offers two routes: Toronto to Stratford and Detroit to Stratford. The Toronto bus costs $20 round trip, departing twice daily from May 4 to September 19. The Detroit bus costs $40 round trip, departing once daily from May 26 to September 19. Both routes are available on performance days with some exceptions.

Stratford Direct is generously sponsored by the Peter Cundill Foundation.

The 2015 season, which runs from April 21 to October 18, features Hamlet, The Sound of Music, Carousel, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Taming of the Shrew, She Stoops to Conquer, The Physicists, The Alchemist, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Oedipus Rex, Possible Worlds, The Last Wife and The Adventures of Pericles. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit stratfordfestival.ca or call 1.800.567.1600.

Cast (in alphabetical order)
Player Queen…………………………….      Sarah Afful
Horatio…………………………………...     Tim Campbell
Player King………………………………     Juan Chioran
Gentlewoman…………………………….     Ijeoma Emesowum
Fortinbras Captain……………………….     Xuan Fraser
Hamlet……………………………………    Jonathan Goad
Ophelia…………………………………...     Adrienne Gould
Messenger………………………………..     Josh Johnston
Gravedigger #1…………………………..     Robert King
Marcellus, Fortinbras…………………….     John Kirkpatrick
Player, Court Lady………………………     Shruti Kothari
Francisco, Sailor…………………………      Josue Laboucane
Prologue………………………………….     Tiffany Claire Martin
Gertrude………………………………….     Seana McKenna
Reynaldo………………………………..       Jennifer Mogbock
Lucianus, Priest…………………………       Derek Moran
Osric……………………………………..      Mike Nadajewski
Voltemand……………………………….     Thomas Olajide
Cornelius…………………………………     Andrew Robinson
Understudy………………………………     Karen Robinson
Polonius………………………………….     Tom Rooney
Guildenstern…………………………….      Steve Ross
Barnardo…………………………………     Brad Rudy
Laertes…………………………………...     Mike Shara
Rosencrantz……………………………...     Sanjay Talwar
English Ambassador, Gravedigger #2…...     Brian Tree
Claudius/The Ghost……………………...     Geraint Wyn Davies

Artistic Credits

Director………………………………….      Antoni Cimolino
Designer…………………………………      Teresa Przybylski
Lighting Designer……………………….      Michael Walton
Composer………………………………..      Steven Page
Sound Designer………………………….     Thomas Ryder Payne
Fight Director……………………………     John Stead
Movement Director………………………     Shona Morris
Assistant Director………………………..     Bronwyn Steinberg
Assistant Set Designer……………………    Nancy Anne Perrin
Assistant Costume Designer……………...    Charlotte Robertson
Assistant Lighting Designer……………...    George Quan
Associate Fight Director…………………     Geoff Scovell
Fight Captain…………………………….     Brad Rudy
Stage Manager…………………………...     Anne Murphy
Assistant Stage Managers………………..     Krista Blackwood, Corinne Richards
Apprentice Stage Manager………………     Jocelyn McDowell
Production Assistant……………………..     Katherine Dermott
Production Stage Manager……………….    Margaret Palmer
Technical Director………………………..     Jeff Scollon

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Stratford Festival 55 Queen Street PO Box 520 Stratford ON | N5A 6V2
Box Office: Toll Free 1.800.567.1600 Local 519.273.1600
stratfordfestival.ca

2015 Season | April to October
Hamlet | The Taming of the Shrew | Love’s Labour’s Lost| The Adventures of Pericles
The Sound of Music | Carousel | The Diary of Anne Frank | She Stoops to Conquer 
The Physicists | Oedipus Rex | The Alchemist | Possible Worlds | The Last Wife

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