(WASHINGTON, DC) Folger Theatre is pleased to announce that it will be the first American stop for Hamlet presented by London-based Shakespeare’s Globe, which marks the company’s Washington, DC debut. Dominic Dromgoole, Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe, and Globe regular Bill Buckhurst will co-direct this raw, thrillingly elemental production of Hamlet. The Daily Telegraph calls the production—with a cast of eight actors and a running time of only two-and-a-half hours—a “stripped-down Hamlet that is fast, fresh, and lucid.”
Hamlet is on stage at Folger Theatre for 18 public performances and two student matinees, September 8 – 22, 2012. Individual tickets are $60 - $85 and may be purchased beginning at 10am on Tuesday, July 23, at the Folger box office, 202.544.7077 or www.folger.edu/theatre. Tickets are available now for advance purchase by Folger Theatre’s 2012/13 subscribers. Subscriptions with Hamlet tickets may be purchased at www.folger.edu/subscribe.
Widely considered to be Shakespeare’s masterpiece, Hamlet encompasses political intrigue and sexual obsession, philosophical reflection and violent action, tragic depth and wild humor. Hamlet—after learning of the death of his father, the king of Denmark—comes home to find his uncle married to his mother and installed on the throne. At night, the ghost of the former king demands that Hamlet avenge his “foul and most unnatural murder.”
Michael Benz leads the cast in the title role. Benz played Ferdinand opposite Ralph Fiennes as Prospero in Trevor Nunn’s production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest at Theatre Royal Haymarket in 2011, and he made his Globe debut two years earlier in A New World directed by Dominic Dromgoole.
Hamlet is a DC homecoming of sorts for Benz, who earned a BA in Psychology and Theology from Georgetown University—an excellent foundation for playing Hamlet. With dual American/British citizenship, Benz went on to graduate from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
ABOUT THE DIRECTORS:
Dominic Dromgoole has served as Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe since 2006. During his time at the Globe, Dromgoole has directed Shakespeare’s Henry V, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, Love’s Labor’s Lost, Romeo and Juliet, and King Lear, among other plays. He was Artistic Director of Oxford Stage Company from 1999 to 2005. Prior to that, he was New Plays Director at the Old Vic where he worked with Sir Peter Hall and directed six new plays. From 1990 to 1996, Dromgoole premiered 65 new plays at the Bush Theatre as the company’s Artistic Director. Dromgoole is also the author of Will & Me: How Shakespeare Took Over My Life, a part memoir, part travelogue book which recounts his trek from Stratford to London, following in the footsteps of William Shakespeare.
Bill Buckhurst has worked most recently with Globe Education, directing A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth, and Romeo & Juliet for its Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank project. He has also directed Tinderbox at Tooting Arts Club, Riff Raff at Arcola, and The Vegemite Tales at West End/Riverside Studios. As an actor, Buckhurst has performed in seasons at the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Royal Court, Shakespeare’s Globe, and with Propeller and Oxford Stage Company.
ABOUT THE CAST & DESIGN TEAM:
Michael Benz stars as Hamlet. In 2011 he played Ferdinand opposite Ralph Fiennes as Prospero in Trevor Nunn’s production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Horatio in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, both at Theatre Royal Haymarket. Benz made his Globe debut in 2009 in A New World directed by Dominic Dromgoole and As You Like It directed by Thea Sharrock. Benz is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and earned a BA in Psychology and Theology from Georgetown University in Washington, DC, where he appeared in productions of Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, and The Balcony.
Peter Bray joins the cast in the roles of Rosencrantz, Osric, and Fortinbras. He made his Globe debut in Bill Buckhurst’s A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream as Lysander. He also appeared in The Heart of Robin Hood at RSC and in The Lord Chamberlain’s Men’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Miranda Foster appears as Gertrude. Foster last appeared at the Globe as Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet directed by Dominic Dromgoole and The God of Soho directed by Raz Shaw in 2011. She appeared in numerous productions at London’s National Theatre from 1983 to 1993, and has since appeared at Orange Tree Theatre, Watford Place Theatre, and Hampstead Theatre, among others.
Tom Lawrence, who appeared in the Globe’s 2011 production of Hamlet, will take on the role of Horatio. Tom has previously performed at the Royal Opera House in London and performed in Punchdrunk Theatre Company’s Masque of the Red Death, The Firebird Ball, and Woyzeck.
Carlyss Peer plays Ophelia. Peer performed in Sir Peter Hall’s production of The Rivals both in Bath and London. She made her Globe debut in Bill Buckhurst’s A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream. Peer appeared in numerous productions while studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Matthew Romain, who most recently appeared in The Recruiting Officer at Donmar Warehouse, plays both Laertes and Guildenstern. A graduate of the British Old Vic Theatre School, he has also appeared in the Arts Theatre of London production of The Shape of Things and in several productions at Pitlochrey Festival Theatre.
Christopher Saul plays Polonius and the Gravedigger. Saul has performed a number of times with the RSC, including recent productions of Julius Caesar and King Lear. His career on stage and screen dates back to 1969 when he first appeared in a production of St. Joan at Oxford Playhouse. He has since appeared with the RSC, Royal National Theatre, The Royal Court Theatre, and The Abbey Theatre, among others.
Dickon Tyrrell plays Claudius and the Ghost. He previously appeared at the Globe in Othello, Henry VIII, and most recently in Anne Boleyn. From 1992 to 2002, he appeared in more than a dozen productions with the RSC.
Shakespeare’s Globe’s Hamlet is designed by Jonathan Fensom. It includes an original score by Laura Forrest-Hay, composed and arranged by Bill Barclay. Siân Williams is the choreographer.
ABOUT THE TOUR:
Shakespeare’s Globe’s Hamlet is touring across the United Kingdom and Austria this summer before finishing its run at the Globe on September 1. The production will transfer across the Atlantic to Folger Theatre where it will open a week later on September 8. A limited tour of American cities will follow. Visit www.shakespearesglobe.com for a complete list of touring locations.
ABOUT THE PRODUCING & PRESENTING ORGANIZATIONS:
Shakespeare's Globe is a unique international resource dedicated to the exploration of Shakespeare's work and the playhouse for which he wrote, through the connected means of performance and education. Together, the Globe Theatre, Globe Exhibition & Tour, and Globe Education seek to further the experience and international understanding of Shakespeare in performance. The Globe stands a few hundred yards from its original site. The rebuilding of the iconic building stems from the founding of the Shakespeare's Globe Trust by the pioneering American actor and director Sam Wanamaker.
Folger Theatre is the centerpiece of Folger Shakespeare Library’s programs for the public and is recognized for dynamic performances in the 250-seat Elizabethan-styled theatre, specializing in innovative stagings of works by Shakespeare, other classical work, and new plays inspired by these traditions. Since 1991, Folger Theatre has been honored by the Helen Hayes Awards with 18 awards and 92 nominations for excellence in acting, direction, design, and production—including the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Resident Play in 2011 for Hamlet and in 2006 for Measure for Measure. Folger Theatre’s Artistic Producer, Janet Alexander Griffin, leads the Division of Public Programs, where she directs the Library’s other performing arts and literary programs, including the Folger Consort early music series, Folger Poetry and lectures, and the fiction reading series co-sponsored with the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.
Folger Shakespeare Library is a renowned center for scholarship, learning, culture, and the arts. Home to the world’s largest Shakespeare collection and a primary repository for research material from the early modern period (1500-1750), Folger Shakespeare Library is an internationally recognized research library offering advanced scholarly programs in the humanities; a national leader in how Shakespeare is taught in grades K-12; and an award-winning producer of cultural and arts programs—theater, music, poetry, exhibits, lectures, and family programs. A gift to the American people from industrialist Henry Clay Folger, Folger Shakespeare Library—located one block east of the U.S. Capitol—opened in 1932 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Learn more at www.folger.edu.
Shakespeare’s Globe’s Hamlet comes to Folger Theatre thanks in part to the generous support of sponsors David and Helen Kenney and The Washington Post.