In 1999, Independent Theatre produced Hamlet with the talented Nick Opolski as a brilliant central character.
Fifteen years on, director Rob Croser is revisiting this most famous of plays – this time with a very young Hamlet.
Rob says : “I’ve always been fascinated with the idea that Hamlet is a student – and that all of his reactions and uncertainties seem to be those of a very young man – not the thirty-year-old suggested by a couple of lines in the Fifth Act.”
This time, Rob has chosen not to focus on the international politics of the play – the struggle between Denmark and Norway – but rather on the personal and domestic tragedy of this young prince and his family, which ends with the destruction of two entire families.
Rob explains that “the basis of the story is of a young prince happily studying philosophy in Germany, suddenly called home to Denmark to attend his father’s funeral, only to discover that he is not the new king – his hated uncle is – and that his recently widowed mother has married his uncle. It would be enough to drive any young person to the brink of madness.”
In keeping with the student theme Hamlet features a large cast, with many of Adelaide’s finest young actors.
At its heart is the philosopher prince himself – played by Will Cox.
Will joined Independent Theatre in 2007 – aged 14 – to play Jem Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird. The following year, he played the monumental title role in Huckleberry Finn, which director Rob Croser specially adapted for him. His performance won him the Curtain Call Best Actor award – at 15 – over and above the other adult nominees. Then, it was Rudyard Kipling’s doomed son in My Boy Jack (2010), followed by the monstrous Georgie Minafer in The Magnificent Ambersons (2013), Christy Mahon in Playboy Of The Western World (2013), Peter Llewellyn Davies in the Australian Premiere of John Logan’s Peter And Alice (2014), and the possessed Terence in Bracken Moor (2014). Last year, he undertook another massive role – Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby – followed by the manic Charles Kean in Red Velvet.
As Rob says : “Will has grown up in Independent Theatre, and is – without doubt – the most talented young actor I’ve ever had the privilege of working with. He has all the intelligence, sensitivity, energy, charm, hardness and pathos needed for a Hamlet, and I’m delighted that we are able to work together on it.”
The rest of the cast includes Madeleine Herd as Ophelia, David Roach as Polonius, Paul Rodda as Claudius, Bronwyn Ruciak as Gertrude, and Shedrick Yarkpai as Horatio.
Hamlet will play at The Goodwood Institute Theatre, 166a Goodwood Rd, Goodwood Season dates: April 8 – 16, 2016 Opening night: 7.30 pm Friday April 8th Tickets: www.independenttheatre.org.au or BASS 131 246