BLAKE STAGE COMPANY presents SHAKESPEARE’S HAMLET (2043)

The Blake High School Stage Company will be presenting six performances of William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, HAMLET, this March 20, 21, 26, 27, and 28 at 7:30 pm. The 28th will also feature a 2 pm matinee presentation.

Considered by many scholars as Western civilization’s greatest theatrical work, HAMLET follows the attempt of Prince Hamlet of Denmark to find out the murderer of his father, King Hamlet of Denmark. His investigation is prompted by an eerie visitation of his father’s Ghost, who asks Hamlet to seek revenge for his death. The Ghost suggests that the murder was the King’s brother, Claudius, who has also just taken the former King’s wife, Gertrude as his wife and Queen.

Hamlet wants to trust the Ghost’s directive to revenge his murder, but he also knows that Ghost might not be real, and , in fact, could be the agents of Satan. So he goes slowly in marking Claudius’ and Gertrude’s actions before making a decision on what to do. Along the way he commits some actions that call his sanity to question and results in the deaths of innocents around him including his girlfriend, Ophelia.

The story ends in phenomenal fashion with intense emotions going unchecked in this revenge tragedy.

HAMLET is a story about the terrible effects of revenge in our lives. How timely a story in today’s world! However, the Stage Company takes this story even further as we project the tale and its themes to the year 2043. Why 2043? Several authors, environmentalists, and seers of the future predict that by 2043 we will see the demise of mankind to computers, machines, and the decaying Earth itself! So, in placing this play in 2043, the Stage Company hopes to find what lies ahead for mankind and what we might be able to do about it all.

The play’s universal themes easily take us into the world of 2043. It remains for the Stage Company to further illuminate audiences with settings, costumes, make-up lights, and props that impact our visions of the future. We hope our audiences can see into the future with us!

All-Female Cast

Another feature to the Blake Stage Company’s presentation n of HAMLET (2043) will be a chance to see an all-female cast perform the play. This is an idea of director Michael D’Anna who experienced working at the re-constructed Globe Theatre in London beginning in 1999. Over those years of teaching Shakespeare in performance he saw many of Shakespeare’s plays done in different styles.

The Globe does two “authentic” play presentations each year with all-male casts as the plays were performed in the 16th Century. The entire Globe Company gave itself over to how these all-male casts came to the Globe, put on their make-up and costumes, and then performed all the parts, male and female, to audiences.

During this time, Mr. D’anna had the opportunity to see an experimental presentation of RICHARD III performed by an all-female cast under the direction of the great director, Catherine Howard. It was a rousing production with Howard playing the King in an electrifying manner.

From seeing this production, and knowing that a great number of students in the Stage Company are female who eagerly seek to play challenging roles, Mr. D’Anna made the decision to attempt an all-female production at Blake.

The all-female cast will present plays on March 21st at 7:30 pm and on March 28that 2 pm.

The other four shows will be presented with heterogeneous casts. The role of HAMLET will be played by Joey Ellinghaus in 3 mixed-cast(by gender) shows and Elizabeth Iduma in one mixed-cast(by gender) show and two all-female cast shows.

Other students with key roles include:  LJ Enloe and Ericka Njeumi as King Claudius; Carmen Hamlett,  Adalia Jimenez, and Nia Smith as Queen Gertrude; Addison Cole, Nicole Kister, and Tori Nelson as Ophelia; Tegwen Feldbush, Damon Lue-Maxwell, and Jacob Proctor as the Ghost of King Hamlet; Logan Dechter, Cheldone Jones, and Tess Maltagliati as Polonious; Logan Dechter, Julie Jordan, and Jacob Proctor as Laertes. An ensemble of many students fills out a story with many, many interesting characters.

Staff on the show besides Michael D’Anna as the Director, include John Ovington as the Technical Director, Mary Wagner as the Business Manager, Paul Gallagher as the Fight/Combat Instructor, and Jeremy and Darius Williams on Sound and Lights.

Reserved Seat Tickets may be purchased online, and general admission tickets will be on sale at the door each performance.

Fall Musical Crazy For You opens on November 14

The Stage Company and Music Department will present George and Ira Gershwin’s historic musical, CRAZY FOR YOU, on November 14, 15, 20, 21, and 22 at 7:30 pm in the Blake Auditorium. The story follows the adventures and misadventures a New York singer and dancer named Bobby, who falls for a beautiful theatre gal named Polly.

Crazy for You is a romantic love musical with a book by Ken Ludwig, lyrics by Ira Gershwin, and music byGeorge Gershwin. Billed as “The New Gershwin Musical Comedy”, it is largely based on the songwriting team’s 1930 musical, Girl Crazy, but incorporates songs from several other productions as well. Crazy for You won the 1992 Tony Award for Best Musical. In his review in The New York Times, Frank Rich wrote, “When future historians try to find the exact moment at which Broadway finally rose up to grab the musical back from the British, they just may conclude that the revolution began last night. The shot was fired at the Shubert Theater, where a riotously entertaining show called Crazy for You uncorked the American musical’s classic blend of music, laughter, dancing, sentiment and showmanship with a freshness and confidence rarely seen during the Cats decade . . . Crazy for You scrapes away decades of cabaret and jazz and variety-show interpretations to reclaim the Gershwins’ standards, in all their glorious youth, for the dynamism of the stage.”

The show features Tony Award-winning music by the great Gershwin Brothers and includes popular favorites such as Embraceable You, Slap That Bass, I Can’t Worry About It Now, Crazy for You, I’ve Got Rhythm andmany more toe-tapping songs!