Photo by Lee Pellegrini
You can count Professor of Theatre Scott T. Cummings among the many fans of “Hamlet,” which he’ll direct Feb. 21-24 at Robsham Theater Arts Center’s Bonn Studio.
“‘Hamlet’ is a juggernaut. It’s a theatrical Mount Everest,” he said. “I feel so lucky to be working on this play with this group of talented and dedicated students. To perform such an expansive play in such intimate surroundings should make for an interesting experience.”
Considered to be William Shakespeare’s masterpiece, “Hamlet” follows the brilliant but vengeful Prince of Denmark, who finds himself at the intersection of betrayal and devastation via family treachery, murder, and suicide.
“You have to come at it well-prepared and one step at a time,” Cummings explained. “To help with that, students involved in the production are also enrolled in a Shakespeare Performance Workshop that I am teaching. We’re looking at the play in various contexts to form a foundation for our work in rehearsal.”
“Hamlet” was widely performed and regarded as influential during Shakespeare’s lifetime, and its appeal has endured over centuries.
“Shakespeare’s theater puts dramatic verse and the spoken text front and center and we are trying to concentrate on that,” said Cummings. “It’s a challenge for student actors—all actors really—who are more accustomed to dialogue that aims at realism. Shakespeare’s language is theatrical. It’s more like music.”
Other spring semester Robsham productions include “The Identity Project,” by BC Theatre Department students, co-directed by Maurice Parent and Dawn M. Simmons. Parent, an award-winning actor, director, and arts educator, is the current Monan Professor in Theatre Arts. He also is the co-founder and executive director of The Front Porch Arts Collective, “a black-led theatre company committed to advancing racial equity in Boston through theater.” Simmons, a director, playwright, and arts administrator, is the collective’s artistic director.
Described as “a devised theater piece written and performed by BC students,” “The Identity Project” will be presented in April on dates to be announced.
On April 24-28, “9 to 5 The Musical” comes to RTAC’s Main Stage. Based on the 1980 hit comedy movie, it follows three unlikely friends who take control of their office and learn there is nothing they can’t do, even in a “man’s world.” Music and lyrics for the high-energy show, which is described as “outrageous, thought-provoking, and even a little romantic,” were written by singer-songwriter Dolly Parton, who also was one of the movie’s stars.
Ticket prices (service fee included) for these productions are $17 for adults; $12 for BC students with valid ID, faculty and staff (one ticket per ID), and seniors. For more information, including performance times, the casts and production teams, visit the Robsham Box Office website.