Michael Sherwin George Zerante
Ghost of Hamlet's Father Marcellus
Darrel Hager Caitlin McGlone
Gravedigger, Musician Lead Singer
Ky Rankin Lauren Cerkiewicz
Ophelia's Handmaiden Gravedigger
Kevin Stangler Jason Rost
Lead Singer, Musician Priest, Musician
Emily Lotspeich Ben Kass
Ambassador, Musician Osric, Musician
Hamlet is "riveting"
Polarity Ensemble Theatre brought its innovative magic to another Shakespeare classic. Director Ann Keen set the world's greatest play in the milieu of rock superstardom. No, she didn't make it into a musical, but there was a live rock band onstage.
Bring up any topic on William Shakespeare—his works, his life, his legacy—and you are bound to elicit some opinion. But why choose a well-known play such as Hamlet in the first place? Nearly everyone, it would seem, has that infamous “to be or not to be” speech ready to recite at a moment's notice. What will make this version different than others?
It’s the mirroring of difficult times, both in the play and in today’s society, according to director Ann Keen. “I think it epitomizes the story of broken families,” Keen said. “Hamlet is a powerful depiction of that.”
Much like today's tabloid celebrities and starlets, Hamlet is hounded by friends and family when he’s trying to digest all that has taken place. Not only was his father murdered by his uncle, but the uncle usurped the throne and married Hamlet's mother.
The production featured a live band to punctuate the action and original music by Chicago rock veterans Mason Brown and Randy Diderrich of SundayRunners. Keen wanted to “bridge the world of music and theater.”
“Artists should band together to make each other better,” she said. “We could learn a lot from each other.”
Polarity Ensemble Theatre presented Hamlet at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, Chicago, Illinois. Hamlet performed May 23 through June 15, 2008, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 3pm.
Ann Keen, Director
Brea Hayes, Assistant Director
Abigail Trabue, Production Manager
Jason Epperson, Production Manager/Set Designer
Dana Erdman, Stage Manager
Jonathan J. Alvarado, Lighting Designer
Kendell Johnstone, Costume Designer
Mason Hill, Fight Choreographer
Mason Brown, Composer
Randy Diderrich, Composer
Jane Healy, Dramaturg