Jonathan Goad plays the title role in Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino’s visually arresting and emotionally charged production of Hamlet, one of the most renowned and celebrated of all Shakespearean tragedies.
Last season, Mr. Goad was lauded for his Kent in King Lear, and for his remarkable versatility as he alternated the roles of Titania and Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He is well remembered for his impassioned portrayals of such key characters as the title role in The Adventures of Pericles in 2003, the Bastard in the 2004 production of King John, Iago in 2007’s Othello, Mark Antony in 2009’s Julius Caesar and Hippolytus in Phèdre that same year.
Combining elements of ghost story, political thriller and murder mystery in a drama that has fascinated critics and audiences throughout the centuries, Hamlet centres on the brooding Prince of Denmark, who discovers that his late father was murdered – by his own brother, now married to Hamlet’s mother. Sworn to vengeance by his father’s ghost, Hamlet struggles to reconcile that vow with his own sense of justice and moral integrity, as he embarks on a mission that proves far harder than he had anticipated.
“In Hamlet, as in our own lives, death is never far away,” says Mr. Cimolino, reflecting on the play’s place in this season’s theme of Discovery. “Hamlet is a young man trying to find justice in this world – our world as much as his. In the end, he settles for revenge and death, including his own.
“The play takes place in a world almost at war. The old heroic king has died. His brother, the new king, has ushered in a modern age – practical, politic and steeped in corruption. Our point of departure in this staging is the birth of the modern age – just before the start of the Great War in 1914 – but since the story’s relevance defies limitation to one era, time in our production is changeable and compressed, and the world begins to look more and more like our own.”
The production’s stellar cast features Seana McKenna as Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, and Geraint Wyn Davies as Claudius, her new husband and brother to Hamlet’s father, with Tim Campbell as Horatio, Adrienne Gould as Ophelia, Tom Rooney as Polonius and Mike Shara as Laertes.
The music for Hamlet has been composed by former Barenake Ladies frontman Steven Page. This is the fifth collaboration between Mr. Page and Mr. Cimolino, an artistic relationship that stretches back to 2005’s As You Like It.
The artistic team also includes Designer Teresa Przybylski, Lighting Designer Michael Walton, Sound Designer Thomas Ryder Payne, Fight Director John Stead and Movement Director Shona Morris.
The 2015 Stratford Festival runs until October 18. For ticket information and schedule times visit www.stratfordfestival.ca or call 1.800.567.1600.