“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” or should I say the Millvale Community Library. If you need plans for the weekend (Oct.12-14), look no further. Steel City Shakespeare Center’s performance of Hamlet, directed by Alan Irvine, is sure to entertain. With 80-90 hours of rehearsal, these five actors and actresses deliver Shakespeare’s text with a mix of pure emotion and humor.
You may be surprised to find five actors playing fifteen roles. The memorization and performance of lines is astounding to say the least, and there was never any confusion concerning when actors switched between characters. The clever usage of props, costume, and accent assured that the audience knew when an actor switched to playing a different part.
Anne Rematt, taking on the role of Hamlet, naturally conveys the protagonist’s many lines. Audiences will love to see the dismayed yet humorous deliverance of the famous “to be or not to be” soliloquy. All lines are acting in a way that communicates the text in an assessable manner, able to be understood by those not familiar with Shakespeare’s works.
The setting of the library fits the play perfectly. “In Hamlet, characters lurk and eavesdrop and spy,” Irvine states, “which is why we have set the show here, in a library, where book shelves and alcoves and pillars make all that so easy.” Some lines in the first few scenes are also edited to reflect the library setting.
Steel City Shakespeare was established in 2012 and had its first performance in 2014 is sponsored by New Sun Rising. “This is a chance to bring people together and do it in an uncommon space,” artistic directors and assistant stage managers Jeffery Chips and Michael Mykita explain. “Classical literature has a universal message that everyone can relate to. Like in Hamlet we could all see that revenge never works out.”
The mission statement that Steel City Shakespeare proudly displays is “to use classical theater to engage and inspire communities.” Actors strive to develop empathy in audiences as they share a “common creative experience.” Therefore, I encourage all to see the production of Hamlet this weekend at Millvale Community Library.
Anne Rematt as Hamlet
Bob Colbert as Horatio, Polonius, Rosencrantz
Jonathan Heidenreich as Laertes, Guildenstern, Lucianus
Darrin Mosley Jr. as Claudius, Ghost of Old Hamlet, Player King, Gravedigger
Kelsey Walls as Gertrude, Ophelia, Bernardo, Player Queen
Fight Choreographer, Tonya R. Lynn
Stage Manager, Jessica Schiermeister
Assistant Stage Managers, Jeffery Chips & Michael Mykita
The group is largely supported by donations which can be given at any of their productions or on the website www.steelcityshakespeare.com. Suggested donation amount for Hamlet is $15.