'Hamlet' premiers on Southeast stage

Thursday, November 10, 2011
From left, Kyle Mitchell, playing Marcellus, Alex Klier, playing Horatio, and Garrett Welker, playing Bernardo, perform during the opening scene of Southeast Missouri State University's production of Hamlet on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011, at the River Campus. (Kristin Eberts)

One of William Shakespeare's most popular plays, "Hamlet," premiered Wednesday at the Bedell Performance Hall at the Southeast Missouri State River Campus. Audiences have a chance to see the performance through Nov. 13.

Director Kenneth Stilson said the university has always had Shakespearean plays in its rotation. However, it wasn't until now that they have had the numbers of talented and qualified actors it takes to perform "Hamlet."

"We expect these young students to give professional quality, and I tell you what, they give it," Stilson said.

Jay and Kathy Wolz were among those in attendance for Wednesday's performance. Their daugther, Allison Wolz, plays the part of Lady/Player/Mourner in the production. In addition to attending to see their daughter, the Wolzes are season ticket holders. Jay Wolz, who is a member of the Theatre and Dance Society Booster Committee, said he used to perform in plays at Rose Theatre as an undergraduate at Southeast.

"We love theater," Kathy Wolz said.

According to Stilson, he and the design team began preparations for the production last spring. Andrew Gehrlein was also cast as Hamlet last spring. However, the cast as a whole has been preparing since the first week of the fall semester.

"I think the audience is just going to go crazy," Stilson said.

He said the play has a universal appeal and still rings true today.

Southeast student Shaylin Montgomery is an English major and a Shakespeare fan. These two elements brought her to the performance.

"I haven't ever seen ['Hamlet'] done, so I'm interested to see how they stage it," Montgomery said.

Stilson describes "Hamlet" as an "action adventure murder mystery."

He also described the production as dynamic, masculine, beautiful and poetic.

Season ticket holders Patricia Heisserer and Caroline Westrich were also at Wednesday's performance. Heisserer said they attend nearly every theater and dance performance and came to see "Hamlet" because it was something different.

About 260 people were in the audience Wednesday. However, Stilson anticipates a bigger turnout for the weekend showings.

"Hamlet" will also be performed at 7:30 p.m. today through Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets may be purchased at the River Campus box office at 518 S. Fountain St. They can also be purchased by phone at 651-2265 or online at rivercampusevents.com.

Pertinent Address:

518 S. Fountain St., Cape Girardeau, MO, 63701

Map of pertinent addresses

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