Student production features new twist on ‘Hamlet’

· 3 min read

Student production features new twist on ‘Hamlet’

Emily Blythe stars in the lead role of the UNL Theatre production of "Hamlet," which opens Nov. 17.
Emily Blythe stars in the lead role of the UNL Theatre production of "Hamlet," which opens Nov. 17.

Students at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln are marking the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death by staging a primarily-female cast of “Hamlet.”

Presented by UNL Theatre, the main stage production company in the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film, the adaptation opens with a 7:30 p.m. Nov. 17 performance in the Temple Building’s Howell Theatre and continues through Dec. 4.

“Hamlet” is directed by Wesley Broulik, assistant professor of practice in acting and directing.

The production is set in 1959 at an all-girls Catholic school in New England. The school’s old priest has died, a young priest has taken his place and the girls are being forced to read “Hamlet” in detention.

“This is the year of the Shakespeare 400 and I felt it was important that we produce a Shakespeare as part of our season,” Broulik said. “’Hamlet’ is a very approachable and accessible play, and people know it. It also is a play that would allow me to create opportunities for young women.”

The year 1959 was selected as the United States was on the cusp of major changes — including the sexual revolution and civil rights movement.

“A lot of change was occurring,” Broulik said. “The same is true of the ‘Hamlet’ storyline.”

The year — the same in which the Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly died in a plane crash over Iowa — also allowed the production to integrate a song by Holly.

“And, I chose a Catholic school because of the ghost and the religious, spiritual and supernatural elements of ‘Hamlet.’”

All cast members are theatre majors with a performance emphasis. Hamlet is played by Emily Blythe; Ophelia is Kate Schini; Claudius is Clayton Shellgren; Gertrude is Taylor Winks; Polonius is Luke Morken; and Laertes is Julia Utter. Other cast members include Amy Almond, Tatianna Hizar, Michelle Ingle, Lindsey Parodi and Karen Richards.

The production team features Paul Steger, professor of theatre, and Julia Utter, undergraduate, as fight directors. Other student members of the production team include Kate Triplett, assistant director; Nick Prior, musical director; Haley Williams, costumes, hair and makeup; Maxx Finn, lighting design; Kaitlyn Peterson, scenery; Emily Callahan, sound design; Cambria Butcher, original music composer; and Kayleigh Kullman, stage manager.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Nov. 17, 18 and 30, and Dec. 1-3, with 2 p.m. matinees on Nov. 20 and Dec. 4.

Tickets, available at the Lied Center Ticket Office, online or at the door one hour before each performance, are $18 general admission; $16 faculty, staff, senior citizens and active military; and $12 students and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute members.

Ticket reservations are recommended. All seating is general admission.

For more information on the production, click here.

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