2017-11-08 / Arts & Entertainment

Theatre UMF presents ‘Hamlet’


UMF student Jonas Maines as Hamlet in Theatre UMF fall production, Nov. 16 to 19, in UMF Alumni Theater. (UMF photo) UMF student Jonas Maines as Hamlet in Theatre UMF fall production, Nov. 16 to 19, in UMF Alumni Theater. (UMF photo) FARMINGTON — Elsinore Castle, William Shakespeare’s fictional home of Danish royalty, is once again coming to life with the University of Maine at Farmington’s major fall production of “Hamlet.” This Theatre UMF production will be presented at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 16 through Saturday, Nov. 18, and at 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 19 in the UMF Alumni Theater.

Directed by Jayne Decker, playwright and UMF faculty member, Hamlet tells the haunting tale of the prince of Denmark and his tragic journey as he seeks revenge on his uncle Claudius who has murdered his father and married his mother. As is characteristic of Shakespeare’s works, the play is a complex study of human frailties and their ultimate consequences.

One of Shakespeare’s most enduring plays, Hamlet is also one of the stage’s greatest challenges to present. The typical UMF October performance was scheduled for November to allow for the nearly-all student cast and crew to immerse themselves in the play on a whole other level.

“There’s a reverence and an expectation to performing Shakespeare,” said Decker. “Student actors and our entire crew have to bring the highest level of dedication and discipline to the performance.”

Daniel Gunn, UMF English professor, serves as the production’s dramaturg, a literary specialist to help the actors have a deep understanding of Shakespeare’s dialogue. The recreation of Hamlet’s castle by Stan Spilecki, scene and lighting designer, and a student crew is the most massive set design in 10 years of theater productions at UMF.

The work of student costume designer, Madison Uliano, helps transport the audience to the 16th century Shakespearean experience, and sound designer, Michael Diffin, adds another layer of ghostly elements and sound effects.

“This is a huge undertaking, and our students have embraced the challenge,” said Decker.

An award-winning playwright, Decker has directed numerous productions at UMF Alumni Theater. Her production, “Coyote on a Fence,” was awarded a Moss Hart Memorial Award by the New England Theatre Conference—New England’s oldest and largest regional theatre association. Her other directorial work includes Martin McDonagh’s “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” George Brant’s “Elephant’s Graveyard,” the musicals “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Oliver!” and productions of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

She has also presented workshop productions of her original plays “Good Medicine;” “Stars Falling,” winner of the 2002 Maine Playwriting Award; “Jelly Moonshine;” and “Songbird,” a touring play about the Iraq War. “Cracked Shells,” an original play by Decker about domestic violence, was commissioned by Franklin County Network’s Peace in Our Families and was featured again at the 2009 Maine Women’s Studies Conference.

This Theatre UMF production is sponsored by the UMF Department of the Arts. The play’s subject matter is of an adult nature.

Tickets for the performance are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and non-UMF students and $5 for UMF students with I.D. Tickets are available at the time of the performance and can be reserved by calling the Theatre UMF box office at 778-7465.

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