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SHAKESPEARE & COMPANY BRINGS ITS FIRST NATIONAL TOUR OF "HAMLET" TO THE CENTER FOR THE ARTS

September 4, 2008
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR THE ARTS

WELCOMES

SHAKESPEARE & COMPANY

"HAMLET"

Saturday, Oct. 4, 2008 at 8 p.m.

FAIRFAX, Va., Sept. 4, 2008 Celebrating its 30th season, Shakespeare & Company brings its first national tour of "Hamlet" to George Mason University’s Center for the Arts on Saturday, October 4 at 8 p.m. Described by Variety as “galvanizing and bold,” this emotionally charged production features Jason Asprey as the brooding Danish prince torn between moral integrity and vengeance, and Tina Packer, the company’s founder and artistic director (and Asprey’s mother), portraying Queen Gertrude. The Albany Times Union described it as  A 'Hamlet' for today.” A pre-performance discussion, free to ticket holders, begins 45 minutes prior to each performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III.

When Shakespeare & Company first staged their stunning new production of "Hamlet," arguably the most powerful and intriguing play ever written, The New York Times praised the “invaluable and indefatigable” company for “speak[ing] the speech so clearly and comprehendingly that even theatergoers new to Shakespeare grasp the plot and characters.” The company is now touring this pared-down, revved-up production across the United States, and receiving praise from audiences and critics alike. “Sharply intelligent, lean, and taut … ingenious and thought-provoking …” (Boston Globe)

Directed by Eleanor Holdridge, the equity cast for this production not only features the mother and son team of Packer and Asprey, but also Packer’s husband and Asprey’s stepfather Dennis Krausnick, as Polonius, and Nigel Gore as Claudius. In an interview with the Boston Globe, Asprey said acting opposite his parents helped him draw on a complicated family dynamic to explore tensions in Hamlet’s own personal life. This production is the first time all three actors have appeared together on stage.

British-born Packer founded the company in 1978, aiming to create a theater company merging the best aspects of British and American actors. Set in the culturally rich Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts in Lenox, Shakespeare & Company aspires to create a theater framed in the classical ideals of harmony, balance and inquiry – the same ones that guided the Elizabethans in their performances. With a core of 150 artists, the company performs works from Shakespeare’s canon, generating opportunities for collaboration between actors, directors and designers of all races, nationalities and backgrounds. Shakespeare & Company provides original, in-depth classical training and performances methods; offers educational programs that inspire a new generation of students and scholars to discover the resonance of Shakespeare’s truths in the everyday world; and demonstrates the influence that classical theater can have within a community. They “light up Shakespeare’s lines like fireworks in the summer night.” (Wall Street Journal)

 

The Center for the Arts is pleased to recognize the generous support of PNC and the PNC Foundation as sponsor of the 2008-09 Great Performances at Mason Season.

Tickets for SHAKESPEARE & COMPANY’S production of "HAMLET" are $36, $28, $18. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit www.tickets.com. The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K.  Visit www.gmu.edu/cfa

GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON is a program of George Mason University’s Center for the Arts, the professional presenting arm of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. The College of Visual and Performing Arts exists to create an academic environment in which the arts may be considered both as individual disciplines and as interdisciplinary forms that strengthen each other.  Believing that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the College draws on a variety of professional presenting and producing units where artists from across the country and around the world regularly perform, give master classes, work with students during extended residencies, and interact with the community in a variety of other ways. These programs at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall, TheaterSpace, Galleries, Harris Theater, and other venues, provide a diverse selection of challenging and entertaining cultural experiences for the University community, as well as Northern Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C. area. The College houses four academic departments: Art and Visual Technology, Dance, Music, and Theater.

About George Mason University

George Mason University, located in the heart of Northern Virginia’s technology corridor near Washington, D.C., is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with national distinction in a range of academic fields. With strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering, information technology, biotechnology and health care, Mason prepares its students to succeed in the work force and meet the needs of the region and the world. Mason professors conduct groundbreaking research in areas such as cancer, climate change, information technology and the biosciences, and Mason’s Center for the Arts brings world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Its School of Law is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 35 law schools in the United States.