Thursday, July 16, 2009

511. The Globe Players

A friend and I have just returned from Louisville's Central Park where a performance of Hamlet has been presented by The Globe Players, the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival's acting troupe of middle and high school thespians. It was a great performance. The play runs through the 19th, which will close out this summer's performances of Free Will in Central Park. The play was directed by Matt Wallace. Matt has been a regular presence in the summer fare for almost a decade.

This evening, and throughout this run of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, the lead was played by Patrick Zakem, who will be a junior at YPAS this fall. He was an outstanding Hamlet. From start to finish, he demonstrated an ability in the role far advanced of his young age. Excellent.

The presentation of King Hamlet's ghost, especially early in the play, was chilling. Despite the 80 degree temperature, the presence of the ghost placed one as if in the middle of October of a cool windy night. Cheers to the scenery and lighting people for taking us deep into the netherworld. The later appearance in Gertrude's bedroom did not have the same cold effect, but was also worthy. The King's ghost was fittingly played by the same character who played King Claudius, Collin Sage, who will be a student at Georgetown, the college not the univsersity, this fall.

Queen Gertrude was very ably performed by Christine Sauer, a senior to be at Presentation Academy, just a few blocks up 4th Street from the stage. The bedroom scene was stunning. The role of Gertrude is that, for the most part, of an obedient wife; earlier this summer we saw Macbeth, where the wife is the lead, with the title role actually going to a second fiddle of a character.

A Saint Xavier grad, Ryan Burch, played Laertes, Hamlet's friend and foe, even unto the end of the play. I've never really liked the character of Laertes, whose deathbed conversion is like so many we see and hear about as one knows their time of crossing over is close at hand. Laertes' father, Polonius, was played by Collin Jones, a recent grad of Providence HS in Clarksville. I could easily see him as Falstaff or Henry VIII in some future production.

I have two or three favorite characters in all of Shakespeare, one of which is the very loyal Horatio, always described, simply, as Friend to Hamlet. Tonight's Horatio was Mitchell Martin, a graduate of the Brown School who will be attending Northern Illinois University this fall. Horatio is the type of friend we all wish we had, and if you are lucky enough to have a Horatio, treat him or her well. If we all had Horatio's in our lives, life would be all the more worthwhile. Young Mr. Martin was an excellent portrayer of this role. As with charcaters, I also have a few favorite scenes. I've written before on the blog of the graveyard scene, with the grave diggers, Hamlet, and Horatio. Most of us can quote Hamlet's line, holding the skull before his face, "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy."

Several scenes were eliminated. I always enjoy the banter between Osric, Hamlet, and Horatio, which was missing from this performance. As too was King Claudius' reading of the letter sent by Hamlet from England, not-so-subtly informing the king that Hamlet yet lived. As is typical, all those scenes involving Fortinbras, cousin to Hamlet, which are woven in and out throughout the play, and in the script is actually the closing scene, were eliminated from this version. As such, the play ended where many people think it should have anyway, with Horatio's famous words: "Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince: And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!"

It was a very pleasant way to spend the evening.

And now, to sleep. To sleep, perchance to dream . . . . .

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Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Single, male, bald, overweight, early 50s, seeking . . . Oh wait, that's goes on the other website. How about this - never married, liberal Democrat, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.