Local students cast in lead roles for CWC’s Hamlet

Join a stage full of murder, ghosts, humor and sword fights as Central Wyoming College students and community members perform William Shakespeare’s drama, Hamlet, Nov. 30-Dec. 6 at the Robert A. Peck Arts Center theatre.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Riverton,” said Mike Myers, theatre director. “This is a special event and people should bring their kids to enjoy the show.”

Hamlet will be performed theatre-in-the-round where audience members will be on the stage surrounding the performance area.

“It gives the audience the feel of being immersed with the actors,” Myers said. “It makes the acting seem more natural and it helps the audience understand the play because they catch so much more of what is going on. The audience can be right there in a sword fight.”

Hamlet will be played by Andrew Thornton of Riverton and a freshman at CWC, who said he was happy to be cast for the lead role.

“I can cross that off of my bucket list,” Thornton said. “I wanted the part of Hamlet but I would have been happy with any role. I was honored to be chosen as Hamlet; it’s a benchmark role when it comes to male leads in theater.”

Thornton has familiarity with Hamlet and read it in great depths in high school.

“I’ve done research and watched different versions,” Thornton said. “There are many threads you can take with Hamlet. You just have to make it your own; there is no right way you can take with Hamlet.”

Playing Hamlet’s beloved Ophelia is Courtney Olson, a freshman at CWC and also from Riverton.

“This is the part I wanted,” Olson said. “I wanted to challenge myself and Ophelia is an important character in the story.”

Olson said she has been working on a lot of mental work in trying to figure out the way Ophelia is the way she is. She has been rereading the play and said she always finds something new about her character.

“The choices that she makes changes her personality and affects her, making her a deeper character,” Olson said.

Shakespeare can be nerve raking to portray and can have a terrifying aura of acting it, Olson said.

“You have to try to ignore it and do it anyways,” Olson said. “It’s the only way you can not worry about what people have been writing about it for the past 400 years.”

“We challenge our students right away,” Myers said of having two freshmen in lead roles. “At a bigger college they wouldn’t gain this experience.”

Myers said he chose Hamlet because he thought they could cast it and have an audience for it. And his hope is that most people have some familiarity with it.

“It has an easy plot line to follow and has one of the most famous sword fights in all drama,” Myers said.

The play has a cast of more than 20 and the show will be about two hours with one intermission. Nov. 30 will be the opening night gala celebration starting at 7:30 pm. Other show times are Dec. 1-4 at 7:30 pm, Dec. 5 at 2:30 and 7:30 pm, and a final showing on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 2:30 pm. Tickets in advance are $8 for adults and $6 for youth and seniors. Prices at the door are $10 for adults and $8 for youth and seniors. To reserve seats, call 855-2002 or order online at www.tickets.cwc.edu.

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