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ILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S Hamlet is the subject of nearly 400 essays, numerous books and countless theatre productions throughout the world each year. “So, if you are going to be a serious director,

eventually you have to deal with it,” said Stephanie Sandberg, professor of theater at Calvin College,

and director of the production of Hamlet at the school’s Calvin Lab Theatre. Sandberg took on the challenge this year for the

final production of the 2010-2011 season of the Calvin College Theater Company. She approached the play with one question:

“What does the play say to me right now?” Her answer came in the form of two key

themes; apathy and playing games. Hamlet is faced with the task of avenging

his father King Hamlet’s murder by Hamlet’s uncle, Claudius. After promising his father’s ghost that he will kill Claudius, Hamlet is racked with doubt and cannot make up his mind whether or not to take action. He spends the play waver- ing in indecision and playing games with the other characters. “I see a lot of young men who are very bright

and have incredible potential for being leaders eventually, but I think they look at the culture around them, especially the troubles in the world, and they think, ‘what possible dent could I ever make?’ Sandberg said. “I don’t know if they can view themselves as heroes.”

Calvin College Theater Presents Hamlet Sandberg’s adaptation brings the play,

most likely written between 1599 and 1601, into contemporary society and creates a con- nection with the struggles she sees men in early adulthood facing today. Apathy and an addiction to game play become the center of Sandberg’s Hamlet. The sense of play is heightened by

every aspect of the production, from the costuming to the set design to the integration of the music to the highly stylized acting. Audiences will enjoy the playful style of the costumes, with their inspiration taken from current high fashion trends. Sandberg says she’s seen designers taking fashion

HAMLET Calvin Lab Theatre, Grand Rapids April 7-9, 14-16, show times at 10 a.m., 12, 3 and 7:30 p.m. cas/ctc, (616) 526-6282

from all over history and combining it with a sense of playfulness as well as a sense of decay that she appreciates. The actors themselves are playful, utilizing a high

physical style and highly stylized acting techniques. Each actor plays two or three parts, and a movement special- ist was hired in order to help coach the actors to create

dynamic and physical characters for each part. Sandberg sees the two-hour production taking audi-

ences outside of reality, saying that she doesn’t really care for realism, and instead follows Eastern European Ritual Theater, which will make for unique evening with the Bard. n

Distracted Kalamazoo Civic Theatre

Other Theatre Events | by Emily Midling Joseph and the Amazing

April 15- May 1, show times at 2, 7:30 and 8 p.m. $10-$22,, (269) 343-1313

Distracted is both social commentary and comedy blended together as nine-year-old Jesse’s mom seeks to figure out what, if anything is wrong with her son. Jesse’s father takes the role of the skeptic, who believes there’s nothing wrong with his son. Distracted takes the audience through the trials of a parent diagnosing and treating their child with ADD. Distracted was written by Lisa Loomer, who is known for writing the screenplay for the 1999 film, Girl, Interrupted.


Technicolor Dreamcoat Frauenthal Theatre, Muskegon April 28-May 1, show times at 3 and 7:30 p.m. $18-20,, (231) 722-2890

Based on the story from Genesis, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is the third rock opera written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Joseph dreams he will one day rule over his brothers. To stop this, his brothers sell him into slavery. Joseph moves his way up through slavery’s ranks, as he continues to have prophetic dreams.

Opera Grand Rapids presents

The Barber of Seville DeVos Performance Hall, Grand Rapids April 29-30, 7:30 p.m. $20-$94,, (616) 451-2741

One of the most popular comedic operas, The Barber of Seville is also in the top five most performed operas in North America. Taking place in Spain, the tale follows Figaro the barber as he tries to help Rosina avoid an unwanted marriage, as she falls in love with her favorite suitor. Sung in Italian with English translations, the Barber of Seville is a beloved classic featuring some of the most memorable moments in musical history. “Figaro, Figaro, Figaro!”



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