Temple Times Online Edition
    APRIL 6, 2006
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Temple Theaters to stage
spare, high-intensity ‘Hamlet’

Photo by Joseph V. Labolito/University Photography
Luigi Sottile (left) and Corey Sorenson play Laertes and Hamlet, respectively, in Shakespeare’s masterwork, being performed as a chamber production by Temple Theaters.

While the play’s the thing for its hero, it’s the space that’s the thing for director Daniel P. Boylen’s staging of Shakespeare’s epic tragedy Hamlet.

A professor of scene and lighting design, head of the M.F.A. design program and chair of the theater department at the School of Communications and Theater, Boylen also enjoys a thriving professional career as a set designer. His credits include productions at the Goodspeed Opera House, McCarter Theatre, Philadelphia Drama Guild, Williamstown Theatre Festival and the Pennsylvania Ballet.

And according to Boylen, set design and directing go hand-in-glove.

“Even though a director may not realize it, a set designer does in fact help to direct a show,” he said. “The designer must create the earth the actors move on, and if you design a set a certain way, there’s almost only one way to do something.”


Opening night is Thursday, April 13, at 7 p.m. Performances continue Friday and Saturday, April 14 and 15, and Monday through Saturday, April 17–22, at 8 p.m., with Saturday matinees April 15 and 22, at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $18. Tickets for seniors, students, and Temple employees and alumni are $13, and are available at the Liacouras Center box office, www.liacourascenter.com, or 1-888-OWLS-TIX.

Working with M.F.A. set designer Meghan Jones, Boylen has crafted a tightly focused chamber version of the Bard’s masterwork, cutting the text of the play in half and scaling back to a production that will run less than two hours. The ensemble cast of just nine actors — seven principals and two who play a handful of minor roles — perform in a cramped stage space that suggests the tortured mental landscape of Hamlet himself. The stadium-style seating draws the audience into the environment of the play and an intimate connection with the actors.

“The set itself is an abstraction, a maze that the actors can move through either erratically or in an orderly way. The cast has been working hard to immerse themselves in the world of the moment, to become aware of the space they’re in and their interconnectedness with one another.”

The design reinforces the unfolding tale of murder and revenge, anger, greed and moral conflict as Hamlet struggles with his own tangled maze of uncertainties while determined to avenge the death of his father.

In addition to Jones, designers for the Temple Theaters production of Hamlet are Brian Strachan, second-year M.F.A. candidate, costume design; David O’Connor, second-year M.F.A. candidate in directing, lighting design; guest artist Jorge Cosineau, sound design; and theater faculty member Stanton Davis, fight choreographer.

Harriet Goodheart