This will be “Hamlet” with a twist.
Director Jennie Otterman made a couple of tweaks to the tragedy for the Shakespeare in the Park performances. She was particularly interested in gender bending, which involves changing a fictional character’s sex. Otterman said the gender bending is an attempt to make the play less misogynistic.
The Noblesville Cultural Arts Commission will present “Hamlet” July 27-30 at Federal Hill Commons, 175 Logan St., Noblesville. Having started in 1993, this is the 30th annual Shakespeare in the Park. Otterman is in her third year with the NCAC. Prior to getting involved with community theater, she spent several years teaching the craft at Hamilton Southeastern High School in Fishers.
The gender bending appealed to Ka’Lena Cuevas, who portrays Hamlet’s friend Horatio. She is having fun with the role.
“I think it worked out, for sure,” Cuevas said.
Cuevas also embraces the opportunity to learn from Otterman, who she has worked with in the past.
“She’s hands down the best in the business,” Cuevas said.
Aside from trying to balance the number of male and female characters on stage, Otterman said another challenge to staging the play was trimming the length. “Hamlet” is Shakespeare’s longest play at more than 29,500 words. When performed in its entirety, Otterman said the play can take up to four hours to perform. Her version is 90 minutes.
Otterman and Cuevas said they are excited for audiences to enjoy the performance. Cuevas said the cast has worked hard to make the serious material of “Hamlet” approachable.
“Don’t be intimidated by the title,” Cuevas said.
Admission to the show is free. Attendees are welcome to bring a blanket and picnic basket. Performances start at 8:30 p.m.
For more about the NCAC, the upcoming play or to donate, visit noblesvillearts.org/home.html.