One of Shakespeare’s First Folios came through town a couple of years ago and tour organizers chose to display the book opened to Hamlet’s famous soliloquy. It was probably a pretty easy decision. “To be or not be . . .” is the big one in a play packed with notable quotables.
Whether a 13-year-old Londoner by the name of Roger Williams had any knowledge of “The Tragedie of Hamlet” when he heard the news that playwright William Shakespeare had died, I do not know. And by the time the Puritans were pulling down the Globe Theatre in London, Roger was a Baptist living over here on North Main Street, enjoying newfound fame as the author of “A Key into the Language of America,” a big hit in London. I love Roger but I’m not sure he was a Groundling kind of a guy. (Hey, to thine own self be true, am I right?)
However, if you are a Groundling type, head over to the Roger Williams National Memorial for what The Rhode Island Shakespeare Theatre (TRIST) is calling a “raucous and lively” production of “Hamlet.” Directed by Bob Colonna the play will run, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, May 31 through June 17th. (Facebook page.)
Says Colonna: “We’re particularly excited for this production because of the participation of a Providence treasure, internationally celebrated mime artist, Michael Grando, who has helped us with ‘The Murder of Gonzago,’ the pantomime that is produced by Hamlet to spook the guilty conscience of the King. It will feature three of TRIST’s talented younger actors, Jasper Summers, Anika Poshkus and Simone Pellegrino.”
Some seating is provided, but patrons are encouraged to bring blankets or beach chairs, and to come early and bring a picnic dinner if they wish.
Free, ‘Hamlet’ starts 8pm, Thursday, May 31, Roger Williams National Memorial, 282 North Main Street, (directions)