Director Jon Jory's Denmark will be part of a cold, post-war 1950s Europe when Hamlet opens Jan. 23, 1999 following Jan. 21-22 previews on the Bingham Theatre stage at Actors Theatre of Louisville. The trimmed, two-and-a-half-hour version of the four-hour Shakespeare classic continues to Feb. 6.
Jory promises "a very forward-moving, elegant, simple presentation of the narrative." He also said in production notes he was interested in "a father telling his son something that changes the son's life," and when the Ghost of Hamlet's father tells Prince Hamlet of evil in the kingdom, the phantom should be the "least ghostly ghost possible." Jory is shooting for a naturalistic relationship, akin to the closeness of the suburban Biff and Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman.
Bruce MacKenzie plays the melancholy prince, opposite Patrick Tovatt as the Ghost and Claudius. Tovatt is a 40-production veteran of ATL who is also known to television viewers as Cal from CBS-TV's "As the World Turns." Also in the company are Kevin Blake (Laertes), Jon Brent Curry (Marcellus), Robyn Hunt (Gertrude), C.S. Lee (Horatio), Fred Major (Polonius), Karenjune Sanchez (Ophelia), Barney O'Hanlon (Osric/Player Queen), Charles Sexton (Fortinbras) and Walton Wilson (Grave Digger/ Player King).
Resident scenic designer Paul Owen designs the set in tones of black with gold lacquer accents. Other designers are Walt Spangler (costumes), Greg Sullivan (lighting) and Malcolm Nicholls (sound).
The production is sponsored by the Mary and Barry Bingham Sr. Fund in the 318-seat arena stage, the Bingham. Tickets are $16-$28. The three-theatre ATL complex is at 316 W. Main Street, two blocks from the Ohio River, in downtown Louisville. Call (502) 585-1205.
-- By Kenneth Jones