Humorous Hamlet

Cylan Brown as Hamlet and Olivia Delgado as Ophelia in Hamlet by Shakespeare by the Sea

Cylan Brown as Hamlet and Olivia Delgado as Ophelia in Hamlet at Shakespeare by the Sea. Photo by Nenad Bozin.

Every summer Shakespeare by the Sea tours Los Angeles and Orange Counties with two plays. I have been to the Newport Beach performances numerous times to a crowded park. This year I thought I’d try a different town called Rossmoor.

Rossmoor is a tree-filled town with many older homes remodeled from the studs up. Rush Park is surrounded by beautiful houses. The crowd isn’t as large and it feels a little more relaxed than Newport Beach. Rossmoor is a stop more toward the beginning of the tour. Sometimes a play can go through some changes in the beginning if need be which doesn’t take away from the quality of the performance.

Hamlet is the performance I saw with the advantage of being on a night with a full moon. Honestly, the outdoors provides the best lighting. Watching the night sky change colors makes for a beautiful backdrop. Particularly, when Kristina Teves (Gertrude) stood off to the side waiting for her entrance. Teves stood in a silver dress gazing at the ground as the moon glowed above her.

I can remember reading Hamlet in high school and college not really getting it or not being able to relate to it. The Shakespeare by the Sea cast made it enjoyable and entertaining. I don’t recall the lighter parts when reading the play. Polonius (Charles M. Howell) is funny as a comic relief. He has tons of amusing rhyming lines. Hamlet (Cylan Brown) is also witty as he feigns madness. Hamlet summons Rosencrantz (Garret Replogle) and Guildenstern (Robert McHalffey). Upon meeting they breakout into a mock fight. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern higher a group of actors to cheer up their friend Hamlet. In the play within a play the Player Queen (Tyler Gray) speaks in a silly feminine voice kissing the hands of the Player King (Nick Fawwaz). There is also the sweet romance between Ophelia (Olivia Delgado) and Hamlet that is short lived prior to the madness.

This is a period piece that director Stephanie Coltrin says they have shortened to two hours by focusing on the internal politics of the play.

Though the play is free make sure to buy snacks or donate at the end when the actors line up with donation boxes. It’s a great opportunity to take a photo with the actors. Bring your dinner and blankets and at Rush Park dogs too.

Runs from June 12 – August 15, 2014.

Shakespeare by the Sea (310) 217-7596.

Go to  www.shakespearebythesea.org then click on calendar. Update-Midsummer will be presented in Torrance on Sun., July 27 and Seal Beach on Sun., Aug. 3, 2014.