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News Brief

You're going to Hamlet, right? Here's a primer to get you ready

Shakespeare in the Grove’s presentation of Hamlet is on tap from June 27-30 and July 1 at the outdoor theater on the Chesapeake Campus at the corner of Cedar and Bells Mill roads. All shows are at 8 p.m. If you’re planning to go, here’s a Top 10 primer about the TCC Theatre production.

10.  Yes, TCC Professor Ed Jacob has added steampunk to the classic, and if you wonder what in the world that is, it’s a subculture that combines the best of yesterday with the technology of today. In this production, that largely means music and aesthetics have bits of science fiction, fantasy and horror. “Loosely, it’s a modern take on Victorian music,” says sound designer Richard Parks. “We use it for the transitions and for a couple of dance sequences.”

9. The cast has rehearsed four nights a week to perfect Shakespeare’s longest play that contains 4,042 lines. Jacob has edited the script to be about two hours long.

8. No doubt that years from now you’ll be able to brag to your friends about seeing Logan Bennett up close. Bennett, who plays Hamlet, is the Republican senator in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming film Lincoln. “I have a lot of improvised lines; they weren’t scripted lines,” he says. “A lot of times when you’re an extra, you’re just walking around in the background, but for this you had to bring energy because it’s a Parliament setting.”

7. Bennett was also in The Avengers, though admittedly that was more of a Where’s Waldo? role. “I can spot me for a second,” says Bennett, who recently auditioned for the National Geographic docudrama Killing Lincoln, which will be filmed in Richmond.

6. For the first time, the stage faces Cedar Road, allowing for a larger grassy area for spectators. “It’s a festive atmosphere,” says Jacob, who is no doubt pleased by the clear skies expected for the next several days.

5.  First Colonial High School teacher John Cauthen plays Claudius the villain and the ghost of Hamlet’s father. The local theater veteran is appearing in his fourth Shakespeare in the Grove production.


4. Cole Roberts is among the newbies to Shakespeare in the Grove. The Bishop Sullivan High School 2012 grad has enrolled at TCC to major in theater in the fall. He plays Horatio. “I like that I’m always looking out for Hamlet,” he says. “I’m his best friend.”

3. Bring a low lawn chair unless you prefer to sit on a blanket with a picnic.

2. Don’t forget the bug spray because you’ll need it.

1. Don’t bring money because admission is free!