“To be, or not to be”: Crafton Hills College Theatre Arts Program to stage “Hamlet” - Crafton Hills College
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Publish Date: July 9, 2024

Hamlet poster

There’s nothing like Shakespeare in the summer, and Crafton Hills College (CHC) will celebrate the beloved playwright’s works with a July staging of an abridged version of “The Tragedy of Hamlet.”

“Hamlet” is William Shakespeare’s longest play. CHC’s production of “Hamlet” will run for 2 hours and 30 minutes and will be set in the 1940s, a decision that easily fell in place during the early rehearsals, explained Director and CHC Professor of Theatre Arts Paul Jacques.

“The more we talked to the students about it, the more they got excited about the opportunity to do something different,” said Jacques. “In Shakespeare’s time, he didn’t care about when his plays were set, so once you get past that, it opens up a range of possibilities.”

The play tells the story of Prince Hamlet, who seeks revenge against his father's murderer, his uncle Claudius. Still reeling from King Hamlet's recent death, the prince begins struggling with his own sanity after he is visited by the ghost of his dead father and experiences other terrible events.

CHC’s cast includes Roadrunners and students from local high schools: Redlands East Valley High School, Redlands High School, Yucaipa High School, and Beaumont High School. The idea of staging the play with actors around Hamlet’s age is not a coincidence, as this casting fits Shakespeare’s original intent of portraying the title character—a young man struggling to adapt to his new surroundings.

“Most Hamlets are 30 or 40 years old,” Jacques said. “So, it only made sense that Hamlet be college age and the people around him be college students.” 

The play will run on July 19 and 20 at 8 p.m. and July 21 at 2 p.m. inside the Finkelstein Performing Arts Center. 

Tickets are $10 for general admission or $5 for students and seniors. They can be purchased in advance at craftonhills.edu/tickets or at the door.