Sunday, October 21, 2012

Shakespeare Under the Stars

Last night I sat among the audience in the breeze, blankets and chairs spread out on the lawn. The stars were high above us and just to the right of the stage in the night sky was the moon, shining like nature's spotlight on our tortured young Hamlet. 

I could stay for only an hour so we sat in the back but as I tore myself away to leave I said to my husband, "look at everyone."  He said "I am. They are silent, and still. The crowd is hanging on every word."  I believe they were...I know I was!

To mesmerize an audience in an outdoor setting full of potential distractions is a rare and beautiful feat. When I am part of a group watching a show with everyone in this mode, I feel "at one" with the others, and with the performers as well. 

Shakespeare in the Park, Las Vegas Style!
Photo of Lake Las Vegas performance 2011 courtesy of Las Vegas Shakespeare Company

Anyone who reads my blog knows I'm a Shakespeare fan and love to write about anything related. I feel compelled to bring people into the world of this amazing form of expression that is Shakespeare's works. It taps into shared emotions by all human beings since our inception; love, fear, passion, jealousy, hate,'s all there.

Last night was a representation of one of the longest held and most enjoyable traditions in theater.... the free "performance in the park."

Outdoor theater, 1596
Drawing courtesy of Utrecht University Library
Shakespeare in the Park is performed worldwide as a presentation of William Shakespeare's works. Of course, here in Las Vegas we have something for everyone including our own Shakespeare in the Park, by the Las Vegas Shakespeare Company. LVSC Director Dan Decker, holds their productions to the highest level and it was evident in every moment of Hamlet last night.

"He is our Hamlet," Dan Decker said to me as he placed Michael Uribe's head shot on his desk in front of me back in August when I visited the theater. "Michael gets the essence of Hamlet. He can take the audience with him on this journey."...I can now attest to how right Dan was!

One of the obvious components that makes a production like this so successful is the commitment of the actors. If you ever want to meet a group of passionate, philosophical and physically "present" performers, go see a Shakespeare production. One cannot "phone it in" when performing Shakespeare. As an actor it overtakes you. At first because it's such a different and challenging form of expression, but once learned it is addictive because nothing helps an actor grow like embodying the works of Shakespeare.


Dan Decker
Director, Script Adaptation, Set and Sound Design,
Lighting and Costume Design

Dan Decker

Clare Jaget..........Queen Gertrude

Michael Uribes.....Hamlet

Richard Hill.........Claudius

Morgan Hill.........Ophelia

Paul Besterman....Polonius

Ryan Williams......Laertes

Scott Spence.......Horatio

Bill O'Neil...........The Ghost

Brian Kell, Sound Design and Engineer

Dale Karllsen, Costumes

Douglas Davy, Set Construction

Michael Uribes......Hamlet

Morgan Hill, Ophelia....2012 Las Vegas Shakespeare Company
"I love Shakespeare. I grew up on his works. Literally. Both of my parents were Shakespearean actors.
Even my bedtime stories were from a book of Shakespeare children stories."
Morgan has an engraved ring that says "Thine own Self be True"...Fittingly, it was a gift to herself!

Catch the final performance of Hamlet Oct. 27th!

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