Hilo Community Players present ‘Hamlet’ in the park

  • Courtesy photo Hamlet, portrayed by Theon Weber, confronts his mother, Gertrude, portrayed by Miriam Wilson, during rehearsal for the Hilo Community Playersʻ 42nd annual Shakespeare in the Park production.

The Hilo Community Players will present “Hamlet” at 7:30 p.m. July 12-13, 18-20 and 25-27 and 1 p.m. July 14 and 21 as the 42nd summer Shakespeare in Park offering in Kalakaua Park in downtown Hilo.

Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted.

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HCP’s Shakespeare in the Park is the longest continuously running Shakespeare offering in the state.

”Hamlet” is one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies and tells the story of young Prince Hamlet whose father recently died. Hamlet comes back to Denmark to discover that his mother married his father’s brother, Claudius, who took the throne. Hamlet then sees his father’s ghost, who tells him his father was murdered. Hamlet is plagued by conflict over avenging his father’s death.

The play is full of inner turmoil, intrigue, stormy romances, seeming insanity, a sword fight — and even some laughs, particularly when the grave diggers contemplate doom and mortality.

Hilo Community Players is a volunteer organization that depends on community support. All cast and crew members have dedicated countless hours to this production.

“Hamlet” is directed by Catherine Williams (a.k.a. Cathy Punch), an HCP veteran and former executive director, who returns after 15 years to guest direct this yearʻs production. Catherine McPherson-Tampos is serving as producer and assistant director.

The pivotal role of Hamlet — considered one of the top two most demanding and large roles created by the Bard — is played by Theon Weber. Claudius will be portrayed by Saul Rollason, with Miriam Wilson as Queen Gertrude. The role of Lady Polonius is being performed by McPherson-Tampos and her daughter, Ophelia, is played by Celaney Carpenter. Her son, Laertes, will be portrayed by Noam Akiba-Hajim. Ray Ryan will be Hamlet’s best friend, Horatio, and his school chums Rosencrantz and Guildenstern will evolve into female friends, Rose N. Crantz and Guilda Stern, acted by Erin Smith and Angie Nakamura.

Other cast members include Allan Anderson, Dan Lindsay, Gaza Burdulis, John Kooistra, Joseph DeVasto, Michael Stevens, Mitchell Ruggles, Peter Veseskis and Tyler DelaCruz.

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Many of the cast members play more than one role, which can be a challenge for the production’s costumers, Lizby and Helie Rock. The set was designed by Williams but required the talent of master builder Steve Peyton, who is an honored life-long member of the Players. Kona sculptor/artist Clarke Riedy was brought on board to contribute his artistry, as well.

Veteran Player Ryan is lighting designer, along with Jeff Wilson, who is lighting and sound designer/operator. Glenn Fernandez returns as fight choreographer, having tested his mettle and weaponry with past productions of “Macbeth” and “Richard III.” Doug Scheer is assisting with procuring props and Iris McPherson is the production stage-manager.

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