SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARKING LOT TO PRESENT "HAMLET"
WITH THE TITLE CHARACTER A WOMAN.
Jane Bradley stars as a tragic Princess of Denmark.
WHERE AND WHEN:
July 12 to 28, 2018
La Plaza @ The Clemente Parking Lot, 107 Suffolk Street
Subways: F to Delancey Street, M to Essex Street.
Presented by The Drilling Company
Info call 212-877-0099 or visit www.shakespeareintheparkinglot.com and www.drillingcompany.org
Thursdays through Saturdays at 6:30 PM
Critics are invited on or after July 13.
Photos are available at: https://photos.app.goo.gl/SJYNqbguL15G49zH7
NEW YORK, June 12 -- The Drilling Company, Hamilton Clancy Artistic Director, will present "Hamlet," directed by Karla Hendrick and starring Jane Bradley, for its 2018 Shakespeare in the Parking Lot production. This popular New York summer institution is now in its 24th year. Its concept--presenting Shakespeare plays with a "poor theater" aesthetic in a working parking lot--is now widely imitated around the US and around the world, with productions as far away as New Zealand. To the company's knowledge and research, it is the first major New York outdoor stage company to offer a production with a female Hamlet. Unlike the well-known cross-gender castings of the masterpiece (from Sarah Siddons to Sarah Bernhardt to Maxine Peake), this one is not a woman playing a man: the title character is a feminine Princess of Denmark, whose tragedy is meant to explore when happens when you inject female power into a chaotic and confused world.
Director Karla Hendrick will stage the character as a modern young woman of intelligence and wisdom. Its Hamlet, clad in skirts, is rendered powerless when her uncle, Claudius, inserts himself into the line of succession and thrusts her aside. Determined and noble, she is someone who would take control through heart and with strength, but her conscience is a paralyzing force; moreover, she finds herself continuously isolated and betrayed by those closest to her and this impacts her ability to function. The play will be cut to a little over two hours to give the feeling of a world speeding out of control around her. The audience is challenged to consider whether the ascendancy of a female ruler could have wrought a better Denmark.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern will both be women and Polonius will become Polonia, a mother. Hamlet's relationship with Ophelia will be a lesbian love affair. Laertes will remain a man and the duel at the play's end will be a sword fight in which Hamlet's intelligence and wit are evenly matched against Laertes' brawn.
Parking Lot regulars will recognize Jane Bradley from her appearances in "As You Like It," "Twelfth Night," "The Merchant of Venice" and "Othello." Drilling Company fans will also recall her as Susan in "Gabriel: A Polemic" by C. Denby Swanson last fall at North of History. In "As You Like It" (2015), she earned high praise from the New York Times (Ken Jaworowski), who called her "marvelous as Rosalind, heightening the humor with clever gestures and speaking the speech remarkably well, even over the din of nearby street noise. Her scenes with the fool Touchstone...and her would-be beau, Orlando...are wonderful by any standard." When the production was revived for Bryant Park Shakespeare the next year, Front Row Center (Donna Herman) called her a "stunning Rosalind" whose "handling of Shakespeare's language is perfect" and who "transforms herself physically into the man Ganymede with just the right touch--we believe she could fool without forgetting who she is." In 2014, reviewing her as Emilia in "Othello," The Times' Ken Jaworowski declared, "Ms. Bradley, in particular, stands out in her valiant closing scene." In 2017, NY Theatre Wire's Beate Hein Bennet, reviewing her in "Gabriel:A Polemic," praised her "bravura performance" writing, "Jane Bradley imbues Susan with a sharp tongue that slices the air like a rapier as she presents her challenge from the outset: 'Is there free will?' Her energy never falters as she dominates the argument."
Ms. Bradley is Associate Artistic Director of The Drilling Company and has directed its production of "Twelfth Night" for Bryant Park Shakespeare. She relates she was originally daunted by the challenge of playing Hamlet, but now realizes that the role is totally open to interpretation. She muses, "The big task is to remain honest and make discoveries, to bring yourself to the role as much as possible."
Director Karla Hendrick made her Parking Lot directorial debut last season with "All's Well That Ends Well" and is now one of the company's core directors. She is also one of The Drilling Company's most accomplished actresses. For her performance as Betty in "The Norwegians" by C. Denby Swanson, she was cited by The New York Times as one of the Top 25 Quirky and Magical Moments in Theater of 2013. Her other significant roles in the company include the Woyzeck character's psychiatrist in "Reservoir" by Eric Henry Sanders and her performances in both the Parking Lot and Bryant Park in "Hamlet" (Gertrude) and "The Merry Wives of Windsor" (Mistress Ford). She earned a BA in Theater Arts from Mount Holyoke, attended the British American Drama Academy, Oxford and earned an MFA from Brooklyn College. She is a Master Teaching Artist at the Roundabout Theatre Company.
Commenting on Maxine Peake's Hamlet (in theater in 2014, on film in 2016), English critics have recounted the tradition of women performing Hamlet, from Sarah Siddons in 1777 to many Victorian actresses, amateur and professional. Sarah Bernhardt, the first actress to be filmed in the part, declared it should always be performed by a woman. Female Hamlets declined during the supposedly feminist 20th century and critics speculated this might have been due to the rise in importance of star directors, who until recently were predominantly male. Cross-gender casting has traditionally made Hamlet a choice role for women over 40, but the interpretation of Hamlet as a real woman is rare, even in our time. "Clearly the time is ripe for a female-directed Hamlet with a female lead. The character ultimately is Shakespeare’s greatest 'every person'" said Hamilton Clancy, Artistic Director of The Drilling Company and Shakespeare in the Parking Lot.
The cast includes Bob Arcaro as Claudius, Bill Green as Ghost, Una Clancy as Gertrude, Adam Huff as Laertes, Elowyn Castle as Polonia, Gracie Winchester as Ophelia, Ayo Oneke Cummings as Horatio, Aly Talley Byatt as Rosencrantz, Lulu Fairclough-Stewart as Guildensternb, Dan Teachout as Player King, Kendra Oberhauser as Player Queen, Maggie Rothberg as Lucianus and Colleen Cosgrove as Gravedigger.
Assistant Director is Dave Marantz. Set Designer is Jennifer Varbalow. Fight Choreographer is Brad Frost. Stage Manager is Whitney Rich. Company Manager is Jaquawn Turner. Light Coordinator is Margo Tillstrom.
ABOUT SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARKING LOT
Shakespeare in the Parking Lot (SITPL) was begun in 1995 by Expanded Arts under the artistic direction of Jennifer Spahr. When Ms. Spahr retired in 2000, an organization known as Ludlow Ten was formed under the direction of Leonard McKenzie. The Drilling Company began co-producing SITPL with Ludlow Ten in 2001. After Mr. McKenzie's retirement in 2005, The Drilling Company was asked to continue the great tradition of Shakespeare in the Parking Lot. A chronology of the year-by-year offerings in the unique setting is available on the Shakespeare in the Parking Lot website, www.shakespeareintheparkinglot.com. The concept of free Shakespeare in a parking lot, presented with a "poor theater" aesthetic, is now widely imitated around the US and around the world, with productions as far away as New Zealand.
In 2014, having lost its Parking Lot when the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area gave way to a giant mixed-used development, The Drilling Company sought a new location in the Lower East Side to continue the spunky Lower East Side tradition. After a nine-month search, the new space adjacent to The Clemente, on Norfolk Street between Delancey and Rivington Streets, was arranged. Like the previous location, it is a working parking lot and has the urban, gritty atmosphere that has made these productions memorable through the years. It is just three blocks from the municipal parking lot where the annual Free Shakespeare festival originated.
ABOUT THE DRILLING COMPANY
Beside producing Shakespeare, The Drilling Company (www.drillingcompany.org), led by Artistic Director Hamilton Clancy, is an incubator of new American plays. It produced new works in an intimate theater space at 236 West 78th Street, formerly 78th Street Theater Lab, from 1999 to 2014 and is presently seeking new digs for this aspect of its work. This season, it presented "Gabriel: A Polemic" at North of History, a "popup" gallery and performance space located at 445 Columbus Ave. (between 81st and 82nd Street), near its 15-year home. The company is also the exclusive producer of Shakespeare plays for Bryant Park Presents Shakespeare. Info on Bryant Park events: www.bryantpark.org.
IF YOU GO
"Hamlet" will be performed July 12 to 28, Thursdays through Saturdays at 6:30 PM. All admission is free. Seats are available on a first come first served basis, with audience members often arriving early to secure a place. Audience members are welcome to bring their own chairs. Once seats are gone, blankets are spread out. No one has ever been turned away and there's never a wait for tickets.
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CRITICS ARE INVITED on or after July 13.
Photos are available at: https://photos.app.goo.gl/SJYNqbguL15G49zH7