Vallejo Shakespeare in the Park presents: Hamlet in Benicia
To be, or not to be. That is the question…but one thing’s for sure. You won’t want to miss this upcoming performance from Vallejo Shakespeare in the Park!
Established in 2010 by Vallejo resident Dalia Vidor, Vallejo Shakespeare in the Park produces one live Shakespearean production each summer. The show is performed in outdoor settings FREE to communities around the San Francisco Bay Area, and this year they are bringing Hamlet to Benicia.
If you’re unfamiliar with this particular work of Shakespeare, here’s a little peek into the play.
Prince Hamlet has returned home from college to bury his father and attend his mother Gertrude’s wedding to his Uncle Claudius. During his stay back in Elsinore, Hamlet is visited by his father’s ghost and learns that he was murdered by none other than Hamlet’s Uncle Claudius. The ghost demands Hamlet seek revenge for his untimely death, and our young Hamlet goes about this by feigning insanity, breaking off his relationship with the lovely Ophelia, and plotting to kill Claudius. Feeling threatened by Hamlet’s behavior, Claudius plots to have his nephew killed. As Hamlet’s act of insanity slowly grows closer to truth, the entire cast is enveloped in chaos and miscommunication, leading up to an exciting climax.
Vallejo Shakespeare in the Park takes this already spectacular play and creates something truly exceptional.
Their aim is to provide professional performance opportunities to Bay Area actors of color, various gender identities, and women through non-traditional casting. As a result, the cast is made up of multi-ethnic actors of various backgrounds and experience levels, creating a production that reflects the community in which they are performing. Exciting contemporary staging helps the audience connect to and understand classical theater in a new and magical way.
Vallejo Shakespeare in the Park presents a “bare-bones” production, focusing on the actors’ performances and authentic storytelling, with a minimal set and modern dress. This genre of performance makes a centuries-old play accessible to all audiences, young and old, regardless of their knowledge of Shakespeare’s work.
400 years after his plays and sonnets first took the world by storm, Shakespeare is still one of the most famous playwrights in history.
He wrote about timeless themes such as fate and free will, love and hate, and life and death. In a world that is constantly changing, these themes remain relevant. Shakespeare also invented many of the words we still use today, connecting words together, changing nouns into verbs, and sometimes creating wholly new words from nothing at all. A few examples include: generous, negotiate, gossip, amazement, and even bedroom! It’s astonishing that one person could have such a large influence on our language.
Shakespeare has given us wisdom, language, laughs, and heartbreak, but his most lasting contribution was the idea that success comes through creativity and play. Vallejo Shakespeare in the Park is carrying this on through their magnificent performances. So don’t miss out! Shakespeare in the Park’s performance of Hamlet will be coming to Benicia on August 5th at 4 pm on the Marina Pavilion Green located next to the Benicia Marina and Benicia Yacht Club. This performance is picnic-style seating, so you’ll want to bring a blanket or low beach chair as no chairs will be provided by the venue.
If you can’t make it to the Benicia performance, you can still catch future shows at the following Bay Area parks:
Susana Park in Martinez (August 6th at 4 pm)
Peralta Hacienda Historical Park in Oakland (August 12th at 4 pm)
Lower Dracena Park in Piedmont (August 13th at 4 pm)
For more information, visit www.vallejoshakespeare.org.