Over the coming weeks, we'll be blogging about our team for TIC's 32nd production, Women Playing Hamlet by William Missouri Downs.
The show marks the NYC premiere of the play, which runs for 5 performances, Wed-Sat June 22-25 @ 7:30 pm and Sun June 26 @ 2:30 pm at Theater 54 @ Shetler Studios (244 West 54th Street, 12th Floor).
Buy your $18 tickets at www.tictheater.com or by calling 212-868-4444.
Kicking off our blogging series for this show is our production's director, Ms. Molly Ballerstein. We asked her a few questions about the show and Shakespeare.
What's your favorite line from this show, and why?
In Act II, Jessica says "Dear Sarah. Why Hamlet? Why cast yourself in a role that would for sure bring condemnation from the critics?" The Sarah mentioned is Sarah Bernhardt, who played Hamlet in 1899 and then again in 1900.
At this point in our history, many women have played Shakespeare's men.
As we rehearse for this play, The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park is an all female production of The Taming of The Shrew. Every production seems to need a twist for justifying the choice to critics and even with this justification there is often condemnation. So why do theatre companies continue to produce all female Shakespeare? Why do directors make this a story telling choice? Why do female actors take the roles and even seek them out?
I have my answer for the question posed in this line and I'm sure Jennifer Teska (Jessica/Hamlet) has one as well. The discussion surrounding story-telling choices in theatre, the questions raised, and the reactions to these choices by critics fascinate me.
Favorite Shakespeare quotation?
“Our doubts are traitors,
And make us lose the good we oft might win,
By fearing to attempt.”
—Lucio in Measure for Measure
When did you first work on Shakespeare in a meaningful way?
We had to read Hamlet my senior year of high school and our English teacher (whom I used to get in, let's call them, intellectual debates with nearly every class) was a fan of group projects. A lot of the theatre kids and a group of guys that often made short films decided to group up for what we thought would be an awesome short film version of the bard's work. For some reason that is no longer remembered, we thought the due date was a week later than it actually was and were naturally all procrastinators. Well, the resulting script and project were perhaps not this group of top ten students and theatre kids best work, but it entertained us.
As evidence here's the edited down version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XrGeDA6xRA I don't recall why the effect on my voice was chosen and my favorite part of this project will always be Ophelia's death.