July 28 – September 1, 2017
Thursdays – Sundays at 7:00pm
“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”
With the death of his father, and the hasty marriage of his Mother and Uncle, Hamlet’s torment knows no bounds. When his father’s ghost reveals his own brother murdered him to take his place on the throne and in his bed, Hamlet seeks to avenge his father’s death. But is the voice from beyond telling the truth, or a figment of Hamlet’s tormented mind? When things aren’t as they appear, who can you trust?
Silicon Valley Shakespeare’s all-women cast takes on the beautiful language of one of Shakespeare’s most famous works, as they journey into the mind of Hamlet and face the ghosts that haunt him.
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Angie Higgins
Rating: PG for Parental Guidance – This play is a drama that includes swordplay and some adult themes, which some parents might find questionable.
Prince Hamlet of Denmark is home from college to attend this father’s funeral. In an unforeseen turn of events, it also turns out to be his mother’s wedding. Hamlet’s mother Gertrude has married Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle and new king of Denmark. Shocked at the haste and impropriety of the match, Hamlet falls into a deep depression. It is momentarily broken by the arrival of Horatio, Hamlet’s schoolmate from Wittenburg, also there to attend the funeral. After a brief greeting, Horatio imparts an incredible tale to Hamlet: while on the watch with two of the palace guards, a ghost-like figure resembling Hamlet’s father appeared to them, but disappeared at daybreak. Intrigued, Hamlet agrees to attend the watch that night to see if the apparition returns.
That night, the guards return with Hamlet and Horatio and true to their word, the ghost appears. It beckons Hamlet away from the other two and contrary to their warnings, Hamlet follows. The ghost speaks to Hamlet and related the story of his death: he was murdered, and by Hamlet’s uncle Claudius, the new king. Hamlet is instructed to revenge his father’s death, and with the breaking of the dawn, the ghost disappears.
Hamlet decides to follow the ghost’s instructions, but first, to be sure that the ghost isn’t a demon set on damning him, he decides to do a little detective work to make sure his uncle is guilty. He decides to go around acting insane, hoping to find out more information. He confronts Ophelia, daughter of Polonius, the king’s counsel, who has set her up to encounter him to determine the cause of his strangeness. He and the king hide nearby to overhear their conference. She pities and loves him, but Hamlet begins to suspect that she is her father’s pawn. He asks her where her father is and out of filial duty, she lies. Hamlet is heartbroken by her answer and rejects her completely. Later, Hamlet sets a group of visiting players on the task, having them present a play that tells the story of his father’s murder. He has Horatio watch Claudius during the entire performance and when the murder happens, Claudius starts in fear and guilt and calls of the entire play, departing in a frenzy. Hamlet and Horatio see this as a clear sign of Claudius’ guilt and make plans to carry out revenge.
Claudius, in his guilt, kneels down to pray for forgiveness. Hamlet comes upon him and is about to strike him down, but reasons that since Claudius is praying, his death would send him to heaven. Wanting him to go to hell where he believes he belongs, Hamlet stays his hand. Upon his exit, Claudius rises and declares that his prayers aren’t real and begins to make plans to destroy Hamlet before Hamlet can destroy him.
Hamlet visits his mother’s room at her request. Polonius again has set up the whole encounter and is hiding behind an arras to hear the entire event. Gertrude endeavors to talk to her son, but he treats her roughly, disdaining her for her marriage to Claudius. He becomes threatening and in her fear, she calls for help. Polonius begins to yell, and Hamlet, believing him to be Claudius, stabs him through the arras, killing him. Gertrude is horrified, and Hamlet continues to berate her until the appearance of the ghost again causes him to stop. The ghost instructs him not to forget that his errand is with Claudius, not with Gertrude. Upon the ghost’s disappearance, Hamlet attempts to comfort his mother, and assures her that even though he might ACT mad, he is NOT mad. He drags Polonius’ body out of the room and disposes of it.
Ophelia, rejected by Hamlet and not able to cope with the sorrow of her father’s death, goes insane and begins haunting the castle singing love songs and giving flowers to courtiers. The king and queen witness her and have her watched. In the meantime, Ophelia’s brother Laertes, hearing of his father’s death, returns to Denmark asking for revenge. Claudius, spying his chance, begins to manipulate Laertes, thinking he can use him for his own plans to kill Hamlet. Ophelia, interrupts their conversation, however, and Laertes grief puts the plans on hold for the time being.
Claudius and Laertes’ plan a duel of ‘honor’ between Hamlet and Laertes, where Laertes can satisfy his righteous indignation without any harm coming to Hamlet. They also plan that one of the dueling foils will be unbated, that is lacking the protective tip that an honor duel would have, leaving the foil able to harm. They plan to poison the tip of the sword, but just in case Laertes is unable to hit Hamlet, Claudius plans to poison a pearl and place it in a cup of wine so that when Hamlet is thirsty and drinks, he will die. Their plans are interrupted by Gertrude who report that Ophelia has drowned.
The duel is set up and agreed to by Hamlet, against the advice of Horatio, who feels that something is wrong with the whole event. Claudius and Laertes set their plan in motion, but are foiled first by Gertrude who drinks the poisoned wine toasting her son, and secondly when Laertes grows impatient and cuts Hamlet outside the bounds of the duel. Hamlet, realizing that they are using an unbated sword, wrestles it away from Laertes and stabs him in earnest. The queen falls and in her dying breath is able to tell Hamlet the drink is poisoned. Laertes, in his death is able to accuse the king of being the instigator of all. Hamlet runs Claudius through and pours the poisoned wine down his throat, fulfilling his revenge at last, leaving only Horatio behind to tell the story.
Anne Yumi Kobori
Anne is thrilled to explore her dream role with an all-female cast at SVS! Recent productions include Othello (Desdemona) and The Tempest (Ariel) at SVS, The Winter’s Tale and Hamlet on Tour (SFSF), and numerous ShotzSF shows. Anne is the Founding Artistic Producer of Utopia Theatre Project and will play Nina in The Seagull in their inaugural production. She will direct her new play Seeds for Utopia this fall. www.anneyumikobori.com
Melissa is delighted to return for her 11th season. SVS credits include Comedy of Errors (Dromio of Syracuse, TBA Finalist), Othello (Emilia), and Much Ado… (Hero). Credits elsewhere: Tigers Be Still (Sherry) at City Lights, How to Succeed… (Miss Jones) and Flower Drum Song (Helen Chao) at WVLO, and Manon Lescaut (Fanciulla) at West Bay Opera. Additionally, Melissa moonlights as a makeup designer/artist (SVS, Pixar, Disney Channel UK, Opera San Jose) and SVS’s Education Director.
Sarah is thrilled to spend her second summer with SVS, especially playing one of her favorite Shakespearean characters. Past roles include Queen Anne and others in last season’s The Three Musketeers, the title role in Educating Rita, Carol in Black Comedy, Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (California Theatre Center), Dolly in Anna Karenina, and Clytemnestra in Agamemnon (USC School of Dramatic Arts). Proud to be the full-time drama teacher and director at Saratoga High School!
Sara Renée Morris
Sara is excited to be back on the SVS stage in this dream role! She was last seen with SVS as Mary in Pride & Prejudice. Her other past roles include The Hollow (Gerda), Noises Off (Brooke), and And Then There Were None (Vera), at BW. Exit, Pursued by a Bear (Nan) CLTC; and Little Women (Jo) SCP. She would like to thank Mason and her family for always believing in her. BFA, Hofstra University. sararmorris.com
Regina trained at the Drama Studio London, UK. She has performed in a variety of shows in Austria, Ireland, and the UK, and is delighted to be able to continue her theatrical work in the United States. Her most recent credits include Sister Prudence in Edith Stein at the Tabard Theatre, Nereid in Caeneus & Poseidon at the Dragon Theatre. Regina is thrilled to be part of this show.
Jenafer is humbled to return to SVS once again after an amazing first experience in 2015 as the Spirit of Fire in The Tempest. Holding her BA in Theatre Arts from San Jose State, her past shows there include Wuthering Heights (Cathy Heathcliff), Marat/Sade (Simmone) and Zoot Suit (Chuca Trio). She was also in Crowns and 10 in 10 (Tabard Theatre), and The 1940’s Radio Hour (South Valley Civic Theatre).
April is ecstatic to be back for another summer with SVS. Recent roles: Cordelia /Fool (King Lear, B8 Theatre), Catherine (A View from the Bridge) and Sonya (Uncle Vanya) for Pear Theatre, Constance (The Three Musketeers), Calpurnia (Julius Caesar), Olivia (Shakespeare in Hollywood), and Miranda (The Tempest) for SVS. She would like to thank her friends, and family for their constant love, humor, and support.
Melinda received a BA and MA in theater from UCSC and SJSU respectively, and just completed an MFA in Shakespeare and Performance with a Directing emphasis from Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, VA. Melinda is happy to return to the Bay Area, where she hopes to continue to direct, teach, produce, and act as much as possible. Previous shows include The Lieutenant of Inishmore (Mairead), I Hate Hamlet (Dierdre) and Troilus and Cressida (Ajax/Menelaus/Alexander/Helen/Aeneas/Thersites).
Caitlin Lawrence Papp
Player King/ 1st Clown
Caitlin is excited to be a part of her second season with Silicon Valley Shakespeare having previously been in last seasons The Three Musketeers (Milady). Past roles include Anne Hathaway in The Beard Of Avon (The Pear Theatre), Cora in Calendar Girls (City Lights Theater), Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing (Festival Theatre Ensemble) and Lana Sherwood in Its A Wonderful Life: A Radio Show (Broadway By The Bay).
Marcellus/ Player: Prologue & Lucianus
Ambera is thrilled to return with Silicon Valley Shakespeare. Her additional acting credits: Janet in Charitable Sisterhood of the Second Trinity Victory Church with Dragon Productions, Joanne Galloway in A Few Good Men, Elaine in Last of the Red Hot Lovers, with Broadway West; Angelo in Comedy Of Errors, The Princess/servant in Romeo and Juliet, Saloon girl/Grumio in Taming of the Shrew with Silicon Valley Shakespeare; The Woman in Woman in Black, Mrs. Cratchet/ Ensemble in Christmas Carol, The Women in Scrambled Eggs, with Northside Theatre Company; Phoebe in As You Like It with Festival Theatre Ensemble.
Johanna’s previous SVS credits include: The Lion in Winter (Alais), The Imaginary Invalid and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Other credits include: Amadeus and Truce: A Christmas Wish from the Great War for CLTC, and The Hollow (Inspector Colquohon) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Nurse Ratched) for Broadway West. Enjoy the show!
(Ophelia & Guildenstern understudy)
Ivette is elated to be back with SVS after appearing in Julius Caesar last summer. Past credits include City Lights’ Rapture, Blister, Burn (Avery), I And You (Caroline), and Truce: A Christmas Wish from the Great War (Clara Krieger), Epic Immersive’s Matthew Briar and the Age of Resurrection (Isabela Martinez), and Broadway West’s The Hollow (Doris). Ivette is a graduate of the Foothill Theatre Conservatory and serves as the Casting and Administrative Assistant at City Lights Theater Company.
(Lead Players understudy)
Valerie is a West Valley and De Anza College student. She returns to Silicon Valley Shakespeare where she has appeared as First Fairy in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Biondello in The Taming of the Shrew, and Iras in Antony and Cleopatra. She has also performed with South Bay Musical Theater in Hairspray, Gypsy, and My Fair Lady. She teaches dance at the Saratoga School of Dance, and she teaches drama to children with special needs. Some say she appears as the Green Fairy at the annual Dickens Christmas Fair (at least she appears to those who believe).
(Rosencrantz & Guard understudy; Intern)
Elizabeth Mercado (Courtier / Ensemble Understudy) makes her community theatre debut this summer with SVS! At Westmont High School, she worked both onstage acting in shows like Noises Off! and Argonautika, and offstage directing. Though she chickened out of her first audition for the fifth grade musical and was not cast for the first show she actually auditioned for, Elizabeth persevered — she has since gone on to perform at statewide festivals, and actually show up to auditions.
Angie is thrilled to be leading this strong band of women through the journey that is Hamlet. She has also directed The Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It, King Lear, Pride and Prejudice, and The Comedy of Errors for SVS. In addition to being SVS’s Artistic Director, she is a theatre educator, and actor. Visit www.angiehiggins.com for upcoming shows. She’d like to dedicate this production, in loving memory, to her Dad.
Cynthia is honored to return to SVS after playing Holofernes last summer in Love’s Labours Lost. From her home base in Livermore she works around the Bay Area as an actor and director. Favorite directing credits include; Laughing Stock (Charles Morey) Role Players Ensemble, The Sunshine Boys (Neil Simon) Chanticleers, Brilliant Traces (Cindy-Lou Johnson) and Cymbeline (Shakespeare) UCSC. Cynthia holds a BFA in Acting and a Post Baccalaureate in Directing from UC Santa Cruz.
Kiera is thrilled to work on another all-female production, since her first SVS show was all-female Comedy of Errors in 2015. As a rising sophomore at Southern Oregon University, she studies production and stage management and minors in Shakespeare, so she is excited to combine her two passions and spend another summer in Sanborn Park! Most recently, she worked as the Production Assistant on her school’s production of Peter and the Starcatcher.
Jim is retired Professor Emeritus from San José State University where he taught and designed for twenty-five years. He has designed for the Cabrillo Stage Company, and West Valley Musical Theatre. For the past fifteen years, he has designed four or five productions each season for the San Jose Children’s Musical Theatre, including this season’s Sweeney Todd and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Jim served as Technical Director and as Scenic Designer for the Barn Theatre, a professional theatre near Kalamazoo for ten seasons. He was the Technical Director at Villa Montalvo for five seasons. This summer he is excited to design for Silicon Valley Shakespeare where many of his past students have found a home.
John is happy to be back for his 6th season with SVS. He was last at SVS in 2016, where he lit Julius Caesar and The Three Musketeers. John has lectured and designed at San Jose State University, as well as designed for San Jose Stage, the Pear Avenue, and The Dragon Productions. John Holds a BA in technical Theater from San Jose State University, and an MFA in Lighting design from The University of Washington.
Phil returns for a second consecutive season at Sandborn having designed last year’s Julius Caesar. Other recent projects include Speed of Light (Quantum Dragons Theatre co.) and Catch 22 (Los Altos Stage Company). Aside from sound design Phil is a composer and songwriter – last year excerpts from his musical Science Fair were performed in San Francisco – and record producer, mainly collaborating with exciting new artists from the Bay Area. Originally from London, England, Phil retired from the relentless fun of the live indie music circuit to move to the relative peace of the west coast.
Assistant Stage Manager
Louis returns as this season’s Technical Director and Build Intern Mentor. He is founder of The Audacity Performing Arts Project; producing 10+ plays and musicals per year in South Bay schools many at reduced or zero cost to the communities they serve. Louis is also Theatre Technical Director for Notre Dame High School in San Jose. He is endowed with an amazing personality that many have found devastatingly charming.
Christina returns for her sixth season with SVS. Recent Bay Area work includes prop designing for City Lights Theater Company’s productions of Ideation and Rapture Blister Burn in addition to SVS’s 2016 productions of Julius Caesar and The Three Musketeers. She also works as a freelance Stage Manager and Stage Hand. Christina earned her B.A. in Theatre Arts from San Jose State University.
Hair and Makeup Designer
How long is the performance?
The show runs… (coming soon)
Hamlet — Rated PG for Parental Guidance
This play is a drama that includes swordplay and some adult themes, which some parents might find questionable. Parents who are curious about the content of this play can read a version that’s very similar to our script here.
About the Family Rating System
Silicon Valley Shakespeare makes theatrical classics enjoyable and accessible to as wide an audience as possible. Families love to attend our plays, and we’re proud to introduce thousands of young people to the Bard.
To assist parents and guardians in assessing which of our plays are right for their children, our Family Rating System features a general rating for each production followed by a more nuanced recommendation and description of the play’s content.
Our assessment can’t fit every family, so we also provide a link to the actual text of our plays whenever possible so that parents can make their own decision. Our ratings are:
E (Everyone) — Suitable for all ages.
PG (Parental Guidance) — Appropriate for most audiences under 13, but we recommend that parents inform themselves about the content of the play and its themes, and exercise their best judgment for their individual child.
T (Teen) — Might be inappropriate for audiences under 13. Parents of younger children are welcome to attend with their children, but we recommend that they prepare for questions their children might have about some of the more sophisticated and mature content and themes of the play, and its particular presentation.
M (Mature) — Not recommended for audiences under 17.
About very young children: Infants and toddlers are always welcome at our outdoor performances. We’re thrilled to offer newer parents an opportunity to enjoy live theatre! We ask that at least one parent or guardian be prepared to take a break with these tiny theatergoers out of earshot of the theatre space, if they become upset or very vocal.
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