A classic tragedy with a modern twist

COURTESY // Sonoma State University Theatre Arts and Dance Dept.

The iconic William Shakespeare play, “Hamlet,” will soon be coming to Sonoma State University for a limited run of six performances from May 3 to May 8. Presented by the the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, this modernized adaptation is already met with much anticipation.
The opening show on Tuesday, May 3 quickly sold out.

Taking on the most produced play of all time certainly comes with its challenges. But to director Paul Draper, the ability to explore new themes and levels withn Shakespeare’s work has made this experience exciting.

“That’s the great thing about this play,” said Draper, “You can see it several times in your life, and each time will be different, and each time it gets richer in your mind.”

Draper, a 30-year theater veteran, has been working on this production for over a year. His cast of college students, most of whom are getting units for this endeavour, have been rehearsing together for 10 weeks.

Matt Lindberg, who takes the mainstage as Hamlet, is a fourth year Liberal Studies Major with a minor in acting. For him, playing the main character is a welcomed challenge.

“Everybody knows the famous ‘To be or not to be’ monologue,” said Lindberg, “I’m ready to make this Hamlet my own. I’m excited to show it to people.”

For Régine Danaé, a freshman with a double major in biology and theatre arts, playing Ophelia in this production has been very rewarding.

“The cast for Hamlet is large, but even so we feel like a close knit family,” she said. “I’ve really enjoyed my time with them, and wouldn’t have it any other way.”

At around 400 years old, this play has been translated into over 100 languages and boasts even more adaptations. But with its contemporary setting and modern dress, Draper’s production of “Hamlet” has been given a breath of fresh air.

“I really hope that students come into this show with an open mind,” says Lindberg. “Just a year ago, I didn’t have an appreciation for Shakespeare. I thought it was too confusing. When I saw Romeo and Juliet performed by a professional company, I was blown away. They made such great sense of the language that I found a new appreciation in this art. I want students to walk away from this play with the same effect.”

The themes presented in this play are universal and relatable.

“We all face the pressures of becoming adults, forced to navigate and make sense of the world,” said Draper.

“‘Hamlet’ offers a glimpse into the anarchic, thrilling and ultimately dangerous landscape of a promising young prince trapped in a kingdom of conspiracy and betrayal.”
Indeed, like rereading a favorite book, rewatching Hamlet allows you to discover new themes with each revisit.

This rendition promises an interesting exploration of the relationship between morality and corruption as well as Hamlet’s own internal struggle as he’s faced with an unimaginable decision.

“Hamlet” will be showing May 4-7 at 7:30 p.m. and May 8 at 2 p.m. in Person Theatre. Tickets are free for Sonoma State Students, $5 for non-Sonoma State students and seniors, $15 for faculty and staff, and $17 for general public.