Rehearsals at Ouachita Little Theatre are well underway for one of the best-known Shakespearian tragedies of all time, “Hamlet”. OLT often makes us laugh or sing familiar songs for many productions on its stage, but any credible theatre is obliged to offer the classics. These productions, such as Hamlet, include those that inspire, instruct, and maybe even frighten. Director Brad Storey states, “The famous logo of the theater world has two faces; one laughing and the other crying. Occasionally, we do tragedies to offer a balanced theater experience to our audience.”
Hamlet is perhaps one of the most recognized plays in the entire world, having been performed countless times in every major language over a period of four centuries. It is full of colorful characters who struggle with familiar experiences, such as mourning loved ones, feelings of betrayal and revenge, and self-doubt. Brad Storey, director of Hamlet, states, “Shakespeare reminds us that we are not alone as we take stock of our lives and seek meaningful understanding of an often difficult and indifferent world.” In other words, this very old play is still very relevant today. Theater goers will recognize famous lines such as “To be or not to be; that is the question,” as the young Danish prince ponders his own fate. It is considered a dark play, but full of action and special effects. It will be a thrilling and memorable performance for the patrons of the theater.
Storey has directed several Shakespearian plays in the past for OLT, including “Romeo and Juliet”, another famous tragedy. He reminds us that the authorship of this famous collection is sometimes debated among experts, but he believes Hamlet to be the work of William Shakespeare, and most historians agree. Storey muses, “We don’t know everything there is to know about Shakespeare, but we know he left us with an exceptional collection of deeply moving plays to be performed.”
As a director, Storey has had much success on the OLT stage coaching young actors and actresses to understand the dialect and perform the scenes in a way that Polk County audiences not only understand and follow the storyline, but they are educated and inspired. He states, “Shakespeare didn’t write his plays to be read, but to be performed. Therefore, many people (including myself) were bored reading the old English of his time, especially within the complexity of his plots. But the illiterate people of Shakespeare’s time were thrilled with the spoken word and the dramatic performances delivered by the actors that made the story become a living thing. That reaction still happens today. Modern theater goers come away surprised not only by how much they understand the play, but how much they enjoyed it!”
Hamlet will be performed at the Ouachita Little Theatre October 20-23, and 27-30. Sunday performances are at 2:30 PM, all evening performances will be held at 7:30 PM.