Emma Newman staff writer
Performing via Zoom, the actors worked around the restrictions of online theater to put on the production. The play was live-streamed for audiences to see.
The play was chosen partly because of Love’s previous experience. He had been working on monologues for the role for a year, which theater director Karen (Kaz) Chandler took into consideration.
“[Hamlet] has been my dream role for two years,” Love said. “The character is so complex. You can go so many different ways with Hamlet.”
Other factors that motivated the selection of the Shakespearean play were its “challenging” nature and the fact that it was free to perform. Chandler noticed that the play did not require a significant amount of face-to-face contact, besides one duel scene, as well as a large number of male roles, which worked well for casting purposes.
Chandler assigned different roles, with junior Eli Okum cast as the villainous Claudius, senior Noa Brenner receiving the role of Hamlet’s mother Gertrude, and senior Jasmine Singer chosen for the role of tragic love interest Ophelia.
Okum initially auditioned for Claudius because of the role’s complexity.
“I really liked the way that [he is] the bad guy in the show and yet you feel bad for him at certain parts of the show,” Okum said. “You don’t know whether to hate him or love him.”
He thought that the show went “well” both nights of production despite a few difficulties, including Chandler being unable to attend the Zoom call on the second night.
“It ran smoothly,” Okum said. “There were a bit of technical difficulties, but I don’t think the audience realized.”
Despite the technological issues, Love also thinks that the cast was successful in both performances.
“The first night, I feel everyone did great. I was personally nervous, but then I think it motivated me to really get in the zone,” Love said. “The second night was amazing for me and of course, everyone was amazing.”
Chandler also thinks that the show went “very well” both times, although she thinks that the second performance was better.
“That’s not normally true of second-night performances,” Chandler said. “Sometimes, they lack the energy of opening night, but I think [on the second night], they had their little struggles and little fears out of the way, and I think they really did an amazing job.”
Okum’s favorite part of the production was being able to work with his friends, which he thought was “nice.” Love, on the other hand, enjoyed the performing aspect the most.
“[I liked] showing that acting is an art and you don’t need anything,” Love said. “As long as you have a computer and you have Zoom, you can put on a big show for everyone to watch.”
Chandler enjoyed seeing how hard the actors worked more than anything else.
“My favorite aspect was how incredibly serious some of the actors took this work,” Chandler said. “They gave as much, if not more, than if this was being performed in front of hundreds of people live, and that 100% just won me over. To have that kind of dedication and to have that kind of commitment to servicing the piece was amazing.”