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Shakespeare In The Park Starts Next Wednesday With 'Hamlet'

Shakespeare in the Park is coming and I got to speak with a couple of its principal players. After speaking with the one playing Hamlet, I got to thinking how actor enthusiasm for Shakespeare can cause you to look at a classic in a brand new way.

“ 'Hamlet' itself is such a modern play," said Evans Jarnefeldt, who plays the lead role in the Magik Theatre production. “Not only in the relationships, you know, spurned love, unrequited love, meddling parents--”

"So, everyday life is what you're saying," I said.

“Everyday life, absolutely,” he said with a chuckle.

I also spoke to Beth Lopes who is directing "Hamlet."

“You can bring your own emotions to this gorgeous language," she said. "When you’re in love you can say, 'My love’s bounty is as boundless as the sea.' "

“It’s an electrifying experience for both the performers and the audience,” Jarnefeldt said.

Shakespeare in the Park is being presented in the San Antonio Botanical Center and starts Wednesday, May 28.

“And that night is actually education night, so we have some special events for students. And then it runs that weekend: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.”

I asked Jarnefeldt how young people relate to Shakespeare’s formal language, and he told me a short story. 

“We were rehearsing outside, just outside the Magik in Hemisfair Park, just to have fun, and a group of four skateboarders came by, and they just stopped," he said. "They just picked up their boards and stopped and watched the play.”

I asked Lopes the standard question many people use to decide whether or not to go: "Is it fun?”

“Yes! It should be fun," he said. "It’s murder and mayhem and everything inbetween.”

Jarnefeldt playfully added that perhaps Hamlet ought to satisfy many who otherwise might go see Godzilla.

“Yeah, this is better than Godzilla; the monster is in the mind,” he said.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii