UA Theatre & Dance Will “Jazz” Up Hamlet (Planet Weekly)

headshot-0001UA Theatre & Dance swings open their doors at the Marian Gallaway Theatre to present the Shakespearean classic Hamlet, October 4-8 at 7:30PM & October 9 at 2:00 PM. It’s the sordid tale of a prince who is asked by the ghost of his father to avenge his death. The tangled webs are woven as Bill Shakespeare’s favorite angry boy must come to terms whether he is “To be, or not to be”. Even though you may have seen a live production, a Hollywood film or probably read it at one time or another in high school or college…you’ve never seen Hamlet quite like this!

“We’re going do it backwards,” says Director Seth Panitch with an impish grin. He follows up with, “If you’re going to do a play that has been done a billion times before then there has to be reason to do it again. I wanted a modern counterpart to the character Hamlet that focuses not on his inaction, but his action.”

Panitch found his inspiration in author Jack Kerouac, “That sense that the world is rotting and that my thoughts and words can affect it seemed to be a good match for Hamlet,” explains Panitch. The play will mirror the style of the 1950s Greenwich Village with the attitudes and sounds of Kerouac, Miles Davis and Charlie Parker. To further the flavor, Panitch has acquired local jazz musician Nicholas Boyd to compose music that will underscore the text of the play to feel more like film noir than classical theatre.

Panitch also feels the play relates to today’s current culture, “I think that Hamlet has been coddled by his mother and father like a lot of millennials have been coddled by society. They’re pampered in a way that they have never had to take initiative. Similarly, Hamlet is treated like a child by his own mother.
He’s never had to make a decision. It’s not that he can’t make up his mind, but he spends the entire play
trying to actively avoid initiative.”

At the same time, Panitch is looking forward to working with millennial students and actors to bring a fresh
perspective to each role. “If you have done the work before, it’s harder to throw away preconceived notions
about what needs to be done for the characters or the play itself,” he explained.

In the end, he hopes to leave a lasting impression that, “Tragedy is a sacrifice. Hamlet is a sacrifice for us.”
Tickets are $20 Adults, $17 Seniors/UA Faculty & Staff and $14 UA Students/Children. They are available
in Rowand-Johnson Hall at the ticket office in the front lobby, by phone at (205) 348-3400 or online at
ua.tix.com.