Of Shakespeare’s work, Hamlet is probably the most well known. And the longest. The Shakespeare Company has decided to take it on to kick off its season. With one of the most recognizable characters in literature, I had to ask the question, what makes this production different from the rest?
“It’s kind of a cheeky production,” Duval Lang, who plays Polonius says. “It’s faithful period wise, but there is an edge. [There is] an energy that I think the audience will enjoy.” Lang would know, as he’s no stranger to Shakespeare’s work. He played Father Capulet in Theatre Calgary’s Romeo and Juliet several years ago and directed Twelfth Night at Red Deer College last year. “It’s in my blood!” he says with a laugh. Not to worry, the usually three hour long play has been trimmed down so that you can “be home by ten.”
“He’s shaped a really strong cast into a pretty strong production,” Lang replies, when asked about director Haysam Kadri. He’s ”being very faithful to the text.” Lang also is quick to praise his cast mate Christian Goutsis, “[He] is bringing a ton of very clever enery into the role of Hamlet. I’m very excited to see how an audience will respond to him as well as to the production.”
This will be Lang’s first experience playing a role in Hamlet and he’s definitely having fun with it. “He’s a bit of a blow hard and he’s a comic foil,” Lang explains about his character Polonius. Lang is faced with the challenge of making his character big, while “still living in the world that all the other actors are living in.” And Lang definitely “likes to go big,” as Calgary might remember his portrayal of a tortured Don Juan in the depths of hell.
“There is this one time where I’m speaking to the king and queen, and I’m waxing about why Hamlet is mad,” he says when asked about his favourite scene. “I kind of go off on a tangent and in effect make those two mad at me. That’s fun.”
Hamlet is playing in The Studio at Vertigo Theatre and opening tonight. “We’re in a state now of curious anticipation,” Lang asserts. “Trepidation that we can get it all together. But we’re in theatre, and as that Shakespeare in Love quote says: Somehow, the magic works.”
The Shakespeare Company’s Hamlet runs September 20th-29th. Tickets are available online.