PORT ANGELES — A Shakespeare in the Park … ing Lot production of “Fortinbras” opens tonight.
Port Angeles Community Playhouse organizers said they are celebrating the reopening of live theater on the North Olympic Peninsula with the production, which will run through Aug. 15 with performances at 6:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3:30 p.m. Sundays.
Performances are outside in the back parking lot of the Port Angeles Community Playhouse at 1235 E. Lauridsen Blvd.
“This year marks the 50th birthday for the Playhouse Theater building,” said Richard Stephens, set and costume designer.
“In all this time, the Playhouse has never performed a show outside on our own property,” he added.
“We are very excited to leg up a stage and showcase another part of our property and welcome people back to the live theater experience.”
Tickets are $12 each and can be purchased at the theater prior to the performance or online at www.pacommunityplayers.org.
The Playhouse will have two food trucks available: the Sequim and Port Angeles Lions food truck and Fog Town Coffee.
The “house” opens an hour early to encourage patrons to enjoy a leisurely picnic before the performance, organizers said. Since the performance is on an asphalt parking lot, the audience is advised to brings its own chairs.
“Fortinbras” is a comedy sequel to William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” by Lee Blessing, directed by Kyle Bartholick-LeMaire.
It picks up immediately from the end of the play, after the duel, with Hamlet dying in his friend Horatio’s arms.
Prince Fortinbras of Norway is passing by, stops in at the castle and discovers the entire royal family is dead and he, Fortinbras, has been named ruler of the land.
The modern-thinking prince believes no one will believe such an outlandish story and creates a more believable narrative to put out to the country.
Unfortunately, Elsinore castle is populated with all the ghosts from the people who died in the play “Hamlet” and who are still around because they have unresolved issues from their past life.
The play becomes a comic tug-of-war between “The Truth” and political expediency and “alternative facts,” organizers said.
“Fortinbras” is a dream project of Anna Anderson, who found that the pseudo-Shakespeare setting was a perfect match for her as the founder, director of the Shakespeare in the Woods program at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center.
When COVID-19 hit and indoor performances were shuttered, the Playhouse looked for something to perform outside, organizers said.
“’Fortinbras’ was agreed to as the perfect show to perform and coming full circle, Anderson plays the role of Osric, Chatelain of Castle Elsinore,” according to a press release.
The cast includes new-to-the-Port-Angeles area actor/director Tim Thorn as Prince Fortninbras, Shannon Cosgrove as Hamlet, Bailey Loveless as Ophelia, Jennifer Saul as Queen Gertrude, Rich Hendrickson as Polonious, Morgan Bartholick as Horatio and Dana Duffy as Laertes.
Rounding out the cast are Jonas Brown as Barnardo, Frank Barevich as Claudius, Lacey Fry as Marcellus, Rylan MacDonald as captain of the Norwegian army and Kayley Dunlop as the English ambassador.
Director Kyle Bartholick-LeMaire is newly transplanted from New York, where he taught, directed and worked in theater.
He relocated with his husband, Morgan, to Port Angeles, where Morgan had grown up, after the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“We were thrilled to be able to engage a veteran director like Kyle,” Stephens said.
“He brings a lot of experience and rich technique to the stage and knows how to ignite and excite a cast. He has been a wonderful director to collaborate with on the look and design of the show.”
Though set in the framework of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” “Fortinbras” is a contemporary play using today’s modern English, organizers said.
“Despite being a sequel to the most famous tragedy in the English language, the show is most definitely a comedy as the play cleverly deconstructs the tale of ‘Hamlet’ but also reminds audiences why it is such a great work of art,” organizers said.
“Fortinbras” is produced through permission of Dramatist Play Service and is presented through the generous support of Seven Cedars Casino and Country Aire Natural Foods, co-sponsors of this production.
For more information about the Port Angeles Community Playhouse Production of “Fortinbras,” contact Stephens at 360-461-1617 or reach him at [email protected]