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Hamlet memories

Hold Thy Peace's fall 2013 production was Hamlet, directed by the lovely and talented Sam LeVangie, went up this past weekend, and I was very proud of them. They did a great job with very challenging material, and I couldn't believe how many talented people came together in that cast. It's so amazing to see how far Hold Thy Peace has come-- when I was in undergrad, it was very much the bastard stepchild of the Brandeis theater group, but now it seems to have completely moved past the old conflicts. Even the school respects it more, as is demonstrated by the three thousand dollar budget it got to put on the show. It makes me really proud and happy, as Hold Thy Peace was such an important part of my life.

The set was really gorgeous; designed by Ryan Kacani, they made a castle backdrop with beautiful faux stained glass windows, and the lighting effects for the ghosts were subtle and beautiful. niobien's recent intensive technical experience really showed as she stepped into Bernie's shoes as the new technical director. I loved Sam's vision for the show. Simply put, she has Horatio be a ghost that only Hamlet could see, and as other characters died, they joined the ranks of ghosts haunting the prince, chipping at his sanity, and silently foretelling his doom. Played by Aaron Fischer, he became a solemn Cassandra figure, understated in comparison to the intensity around him. Ryan played Claudius as a charismatic politician with an air of the ends justifying the means, his confidence designed to smooth over a crumbling inner state. His scene with Claudius's confessional monologue was one of the strongest scenes in the show. And of course there was Alex Davis as Hamlet, one of the most talented undergrads I've ever seen at Brandeis, whose tremendous ability to command a stage with his presence makes him absolutely mesmerizing. It was overall a wonderful cast, and I'm amazed to see multiple strong leading men in HTP for the first time.

I took this picture of Alex and Frances, the two Hamlets of HTP. Very different portrayals in all possible ways, and both amazing for different reasons. I like this little bit of history. :-)

The show also brought up a lot of memories. As you may recall, I directed the first production of Hamlet HTP ever put up, back in November of 2007. I was very proud of that show, and I think we did a very good job overall, despite struggling to find good people to be involved and so few resources for production. Honestly I was happy enough with my idea behind that show that I'd love to recreate it now that I'm more developed as a director. But at the same time it's become something that's a bit difficult to think about. It was a project that Jared was very deeply involved with, and I can't think about that play without having to think about him.

Now, as pissed as I still am at Jared overall, I'll say he is an extremely talented actor, and I thought his performance as Claudius was second only to crearespero as Hamlet. Onstage, I still do think he was great. But even back then, less than a year into our relationship, he was beginning to show what he was really like-- throwing a fit because I didn't cast him as Hamlet, drama queening out in rehearsals, getting upset in tech week because I couldn't DROP THE ENTIRE SHOW I WAS RUNNING to pay attention specifically to him. And his behavior at the cast party was so reprehensible I can't even bear to talk about it. I heard from several people after we broke up that the Hamlet process was when they decided they wanted as little to do with him as possible. And, as if that weren't enough, he ended up having a long-term affair with the person who played Gertrude. So there's a lot of painful baggage attached to the whole thing. That show was a great accomplishment of mine, and I'm very proud of it. But I hate that I can't think about it without having to remember him and all his bullshit-- bullshit which I put up and indulged, because I thought that's what you did for somebody you loved. Now the thought of it just turns my stomach.

I'll just have to figure out some way to separate the two. For well or for ill, one thing I've always been good at is distancing myself from memories. They don't necessarily stick to me-- I tend to reframe them as narratives and hold onto them that way, rather than maintain mental snapshots or videos of the moments --and that's made me good at keeping what I want to keep and moving past what I don't. Hopefully I will be able to keep this from tainting the memory of something I should really be proud of.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 11th, 2013 08:58 pm (UTC)
Wow I had no idea Jared threw a fit for not being cast as Hamlet. That would be like me throwing a fit for not being cast as Juliet or something. Really, what?
Nov. 11th, 2013 11:59 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it was pretty unbelievable. I kept it quiet back then because I was embarrassed for him, and he did end up getting over it. But seriously, what the hell?
Nov. 11th, 2013 10:14 pm (UTC)
His behavior during that time was gross and deeply despicable.

But what I remember about that show is the simple yet striking set, with your vibrant and characteristic use of color. The wonderful performances and, before that, rehearsal after rehearsal as people pieced together their words and movements. The stress relieving hysterical bonding laughter over "flocks of angels" and every other repeated shenanigan.
It was a pleasure to be involved in the process, moreso than almost any play I've been involved in before or since, and I hope that you can reclaim the positive memories.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

About Me

My name is Phoebe. I'm Boston area theater professional and English professor focused in writing, acting, directing, and modeling. I'm known for having lots of interests, lots of opinions about those interests, and a very high estimation of the value thereof. This blog is for talking about whatever's on my mind, from my daily life to my activities to musing on any number of abstract topics. Thanks for taking the time to read.

My productions:

Upcoming Productions:

MRS. HAWKING part 2 and 3

at the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016

presented by The Chameleon's Dish

Vivat Regina
by Phoebe Roberts

at 2PM


Base Instruments
by Phoebe Roberts

at 6PM

Saturday, May 13th 2017
at 274 Moody Street, Waltham, MA

Other Achievements:

"The Tailor at Loring's End" screenplay
Quarter Finalist in the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Competition 2013

"Adonis" screenplay
Top Ten Percent in the Bluecat Screenwriting Contest 2015

Latest Month

April 2017


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