To be or not to be Shakespearean


By Pam Creech

Contributing Writer

Theatre students at the University of North Carolina Wilmington will tackle one of the world’s most famous plays. From Feb. 19-22 and Feb. 26-March 1, they will bring Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” to the Mainstage Theater of UNCW’s Cultural Arts Building. Shows will begin at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday.

“Hamlet” is directed by Christopher Marino, who teaches theatre at UNCW, holds two graduate degrees in dramatic arts, one of which is in Shakespearean theatre from George Washington University.

Marino’s main goal is to connect a modern audience to “Hamlet” while retaining the play’s original dialogue.

“We have not added a word. It is as it was on the page,” he said.

However, Marino still wants his production to be unique.

“I’ve encouraged students to look into the text and see what’s there as opposed to playing a version of the play that they have seen. … Sometimes when productions get stuck in an idea on how Shakespeare has to be played, they become more akin to something in a museum,” he said.

Marino also wants the audience to empathize with Hamlet, despite the character’s irrational behavior.

“He’s someone who’s fighting for his life. … We’re getting away from the idea of a guy with pumpkin hose and a skull in his hand acting all Shakespearean,” Marino said.

Hamlet will be played by Luke Robbins, a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre.

Marino hopes the audience will empathize with Ophelia, Hamlet’s lover, as well.

“Every man in the play treats her like a puppet,” Marino said.

Julia Ormond, a sophomore studying theatre, will play Ophelia.

“I have to tread lightly with how much anger she can put forth. I’m a fiery, passionate person, but Ophelia is gentle,” Ormond said.

Ormond is also challenged by portraying Ophelia’s insanity in a way that the audience can understand.

“In her crazy scene, she’s trying to explain how she feels in words and terms that don’t make sense to people. It’s like if I were to try to explain how I feel to you through movie quotes,” Ormond said.

Ormond has been acting since she was 9 years old, and she’s excited to perform in her first theatre department show at UNCW.

“It was a huge shift from high school plays to working with Chris Marino,” she said.

Marino is also excited about directing “Hamlet,” his first UNCW production.

“It’s a great play to be doing at a school,” he said. “The whole show should be about two and a half hours. Hopefully, if we’ve done our job, the audience should be able to watch the play and understand it and relate to it in some way.”

To purchase tickets, call the Kenan Auditorium box office at 910-962-3500. Tickets cost $12 for the general public, $10 for UNCW faculty/staff/alumni and senior citizens and $5 for children.

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