Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival Bard goes to rep on the Studio Stage for the first time this summer, pairing Shakespeare’s great tragedy Hamlet with Tom Stoppard’s modern twist on the Hamlet tale, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Hamlet begins June 30 and R&G is added to the mix commencing July 13. Both productions are directed by Vancouver’s renowned Dean Paul Gibson and run in rep Tuesdays through Sundays in the intimate 240-seat, open-ended Studio Stage tent in Vanier Park until September 23.

Murder, a hasty marriage and a ghost’s demand for revenge set the scene for the great tragedy Hamlet. As the Prince of Denmark seeks to expose his uncle’s heinous deed, lovers, friends and family are caught up in the madness that follows. In contrast, Tom Stoppard’s fabulously inventive modern comedy, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, places two of Hamlet’s minor characters in the spotlight. In this award-winning play by the co-author of "Shakespeare in Love", the Prince’s two college chums become both audience and actors in Hamlet drama.
The Studio Stage company features Bob Frazer as Hamlet, Colleen Wheeler as his mother Gertrude, Andrew Wheeler as his murdering uncle Claudius, and Josue Laboucane as his old friend Horatio. Moya O’Connell plays Hamlet’s sweetheart Ophelia with David Marr as her interfering old father Polonius, and Michael Scholar, Jr. as her brother Laertes. Russell Roberts is Hamlet’s father’s Ghost, The Player and the Gravedigger, while Kyle Rideout and Torrance Coombs play numerous characters. In Hamlet Stephen Holmes and Haig Sutherland fill the minor roles of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, but in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead they take star billing, and switch places with Haig playing Rosencrantz and Stephen, Guildenstern.

Dean Paul Gibson has conceived a tailored and simple production for Hamlet which incorporates clean lines and sleek contemporary costuming designed by Mara Gottler. Then, to reflect the hilarious "off-kilter" view that Stoppard has taken on the familiar tragedy, the costumes in R&G twist Hamlet’s contemporary look with colourfully striped shirts and hints from other periods helping create a world that is slightly exaggerated and more theatrical. Set Designer Kevin McAllister has placed the world of Elsinore ‘in the round’ with a dramatic playing platform and promenade above the audience. Two ends of the tent will be open behind the action. Gerald King’s lighting takes us from the dark madness of the classic tragedy to moods of colourful confusion in Stoppard’s comedy. Alessandro Juliani and Meg Roe have created original music and soundscapes to enhance each production. Fight Direction is by Nicholas Harrison and Movement Coach is Wendy Gorling. Stage Manager Joanne P.B. Smith is assisted by Rebecca Craster (Assistant Stage Manager) and Rachel Bland (Apprentice Stage Manager).

Performance details for Hamlet and R&G are as follows:
· Hamlet - Previews June 30, July 1, 2, 5; Opens July 6; Runs to Sept. 23 in rep with R&G.
· R&G - Previews July 13, 14; Opens July 15; Runs to Sept. 22 in rep with Hamlet
· Performances are Tuesdays through Sundays in the Studio Stage tent in Vanier Park.
· Bard-B-Q & Fireworks (6 pm): Hamlet: July 30, Aug. 3: R&G: July 27, Aug. 6
· Celebrating Red & White wine event, August 20 - Hamlet: 3pm; R&G: 6pm for 8pm show.

Play tickets are $16.00 to $28.50. Order through the Bard Box Office, either on-site or by calling 604-739-0559, or on-line at http://www.blogger.com/www.bardonthebeach.org. Season Sponsor is Starbucks.

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