Hold Thy Peace's fall 2013 production was Hamlet, directed by the lovely and talented Sam LeVangie, went up this past weekend, and I was very proud of them. They did a great job with very challenging material, and I couldn't believe how many talented people came together in that cast. It's so amazing to see how far Hold Thy Peace has come-- when I was in undergrad, it was very much the bastard stepchild of the Brandeis theater group, but now it seems to have completely moved past the old conflicts. Even the school respects it more, as is demonstrated by the three thousand dollar budget it got to put on the show. It makes me really proud and happy, as Hold Thy Peace was such an important part of my life.
The set was really gorgeous; designed by Ryan Kacani, they made a castle backdrop with beautiful faux stained glass windows, and the lighting effects for the ghosts were subtle and beautiful. niobien's recent intensive technical experience really showed as she stepped into Bernie's shoes as the new technical director. I loved Sam's vision for the show. Simply put, she has Horatio be a ghost that only Hamlet could see, and as other characters died, they joined the ranks of ghosts haunting the prince, chipping at his sanity, and silently foretelling his doom. Played by Aaron Fischer, he became a solemn Cassandra figure, understated in comparison to the intensity around him. Ryan played Claudius as a charismatic politician with an air of the ends justifying the means, his confidence designed to smooth over a crumbling inner state. His scene with Claudius's confessional monologue was one of the strongest scenes in the show. And of course there was Alex Davis as Hamlet, one of the most talented undergrads I've ever seen at Brandeis, whose tremendous ability to command a stage with his presence makes him absolutely mesmerizing. It was overall a wonderful cast, and I'm amazed to see multiple strong leading men in HTP for the first time.
I took this picture of Alex and Frances, the two Hamlets of HTP. Very different portrayals in all possible ways, and both amazing for different reasons. I like this little bit of history. :-)
( Cut for bitching and whining. )
The show also brought up a lot of memories. As you may recall, I directed the first production of Hamlet HTP ever put up, back in November of 2007. I was very proud of that show, and I think we did a very good job overall, despite struggling to find good people to be involved and so few resources for production. Honestly I was happy enough with my idea behind that show that I'd love to recreate it now that I'm more developed as a director. But at the same time it's become something that's a bit difficult to think about. It was a project that Jared was very deeply involved with, and I can't think about that play without having to think about him.
I'll just have to figure out some way to separate the two. For well or for ill, one thing I've always been good at is distancing myself from memories. They don't necessarily stick to me-- I tend to reframe them as narratives and hold onto them that way, rather than maintain mental snapshots or videos of the moments --and that's made me good at keeping what I want to keep and moving past what I don't. Hopefully I will be able to keep this from tainting the memory of something I should really be proud of.