Hamlet Director's Chat
with Alan Litsey, BSC Professor of Theatre
Shakespeare has so many wonderful tragedies—why did you choose Hamlet?
The play is rich with issues so relevant to our time. Hamlet discovers a dark, disturbing truth and must decide on the most ethical course of action. He pursues a larger-than-life goal despite great self doubts and very human flaws. We absorb Hamlet's fascinating struggle to balance his exquisitely creative inner life with earth-bound reason.
You'll be performing in the 98-seat “black box” theatre. How does this change the way we'll experience this well-known story?
Our goal is to discover the play in a very intimate and personal way. Our total focus is the direct, intense conflict that defines each moment.
Do you think Hamlet has something to teach us today? What would that be?
I think Hamlet inspires important conversations, though I'm sure we'll all land in diverse places. Hamlet raises questions about the nature of truth, illusion, honor, corruption, faith, and much more. Harold Bloom, an American writer and literary critic, writes intriguingly about Hamlet's freedom through introspection. Ironically, this process percolates in an increasingly claustrophobic, non-private world. Hamlet models our personal challenges in today's global, public, and technological world and invites us to reflect on some big issues: family and personal honor, making a difference in one's world, battling seen and unseen ghosts.
Do you have a favorite scene or character? What is it?
I probably don't have one favorite scene—there are so many exciting moments in the play. In rehearsal, it's often the one I am working on at the moment because each scene pops in a unique way. I do particularly like that the first line in the play is a question in a work chock full of questions. The first scene centers on a mystery and a ghost. What could be more delicious?
What do you think is the most valuable thing our students will take away from working on and appearing in Hamlet?
Any time we have the privilege to step into another world and see it from a new perspective, we leave enriched. Hamlet is the iconic play in the world's cannon. Each generation redefines the play in its own personal context. We hope to make our post-modern production a very personal one—for us and for our audience.
Any final thoughts?
In our ever-evolving world of electronic communication and distraction—our daily swirl of e-mail, iPods, and smart phones—quality human interaction is more and more elusive. The arts provide an opportunity for us to reflect on our relationships as we see our stories told. The arts not only enhance lives, they also change lives.
College Theatre – Theatre One
Fine Arts Society reservations begin Tuesday, January 5
General Public reservations begin Tuesday, January 12
Tickets are $10 for general public and $5 for students, regardless of age or school. Click here to reserve tickets.