The Utah Shakespeare Festival is bringing its award-winning Shakespeare-in-the-Schools touring production to Bullhead City this week. The famous and monumental story of Hamlet will be presented free to the public at the Mohave High School Auditorium this Friday, March 11, at 6:00 pm.
Students from both River Valley and Mohave High Schools have been invited to two afternoon drama workshops hosted by cast members. Ten professionals from all over the country are coming together to bring this production to students. The company consists of seven actors, a company manager, a stage manager, and a technical director.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival is a Tony Award-winning, professional theatre located on the campus of Southern Utah University in Cedar City. In its 22nd year, this educational outreach program features a 75-minute version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, including costumes, sets, and theatrical lighting. Also included is a fifteen-minute post-show discussion with the actors and optional workshops in Stage Combat, Performing Shakespeare’s Text, Technical Theatre and Developing Character through Improvisation.
“Hamlet is my favorite piece of literature, my favorite play, my favorite story,” said director Frank Honts. “And when I think about what young people living in the United States in 2016 are experiencing, I think that Hamlet’s story isn’t so far away from theirs and that it will have resonance and currency to them.
“This strips away the preciousness of theatre,” Honts added. “Anyone can do it. There is universality to storytelling. All you need is a story and some people who are willing to tell it.”
It also allows for some interesting casting choices. For instance, the troupe of actors has chosen the roles for each actor based upon the most appropriate way to tell the story. In this case, that means that a female actor is playing the male lead of Hamlet. Also, a female actor will be playing the female role of Gertrude and the male role of the Ghost of Hamlet’s Father.
Costs for the Bullhead City workshops and performance are underwritten by 21st Century Community Learning Center grants from the Arizona Department of Education. Additional information about both Shakespeare-in-the-Schools and the tour is available at www.bard.org/tour.