By the following Friday, our next scheduled performance, as we joined our nation in disbelieving grief and uncertain sorrow, we decided to continue with our performances of Hamlet. In my introduction to the play that night, I did something I had never done before from the Forest Meadows stage: I offered up a prayer. The audiences were sparse. We had several nights with fewer than a hundred brave souls, huddling together to witness and share Hamlet's grief and uncertainty in what felt like a chamber production of this huge play.
There may never be a definitive production of Hamlet. This production was inspired by Darren Bridgett, who Bob felt had the range and depth needed to tackle the melancholy Dane. Darren gave a highly personal, physically passionate, funny and intimate reading of Hamlet. Many audience members were moved and delighted by his portrayal. Others missed a more traditional, verse-centered approach. Alexandra Matthew as Ophelia was stunning and shockingly vulnerable.
We loved working with our dear friends, real-life husband and wife Susan Brashear and Will Marchetti as Gertrude and Claudius. Thomas Lynch was exceptional as Polonius and the Gravedigger. Anthony Abate turned in one of his best MSC performances as Laertes.
Presenting Hamlet - a story about a country torn apart by untimely tragedy - during one of our nation's darkest hours was an experience that added meaning to the play for actors and audiences alike. It taught us, once again, how Shakespeare can speak in so many ways across the ages to our deepest personal and shared challenges.