Kingsmen Festival closes with 'Hamlet'

Director Brett Elliott played title role in 2001 staging

Ty Mayberry as Hamlet considers stabbing Claudius, played by Ted Barton.

Photo: Brian Stethem

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – July 5, 2013) Twelve years after playing Hamlet on the Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival stage, Brett Elliott is bringing the Bard’s famous tragedy back as director.

“Hamlet” will conclude the 17th annual season at California Lutheran University with performances at 8 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from July 19 through Aug. 4 in scenic Kingsmen Park. The festival grounds open at 5:30 p.m. for picnicking and pre-show entertainment begins at 6:15 p.m.

“Hamlet” is the story of a young Danish prince who seeks to avenge the death of his father in a court filled with manipulation and deceit. Set in 1601, the year it was written, the Kingsmen production highlights Hamlet’s internal, spiritual struggle as he confronts his terrifying destiny. Featuring Elliott’s characteristic fight choreography, the briskly paced but thoughtful traditional rendering is designed to offer plenty of fodder for sophisticated fans while remaining an accessible and engaging introduction for young people and newcomers.

Elliott, who the Los Angeles Times called a “convincing” and “forceful presence” in the title role in 2001, wanted to revisit Shakespeare’s masterpiece as director after the success of his productions of “All’s Well That Ends Well” and “Romeo and Juliet” on the Kingsmen stage.

Ty Mayberry will make his debut with the Kingsmen Shakespeare Company as Hamlet. He also played the role at the Tony Award-winning Alley Theatre of Houston and directed the play in Los Angeles. Ted Barton, who has performed at the Mark Taper Forum and the Ahmanson Theatre and with many Shakespeare companies around the country, will also appear in the festival for the first time. Kingsmen veterans Elyse Mirto, Marc Silver and John Slade help round out the cast. Harold Dixon, a University of Arizona professor emeritus of theatre who has performed in and directed multiple Shakespeare productions, returns after playing Prospero in the 2013 festival’s first show, “The Tempest.”

The Kingsmen Shakespeare Company is the professional theatre company of CLU. In addition to producing one of the area’s most popular outdoor theatrical events, it provides apprentice programs, an educational tour program and summer youth theater camps.

Guests should bring low-back lawn chairs or blankets to sit on and warm clothes. General admission is $20 for adults and free for those under 18. Box seats, which accommodate six adults, are $75 or $90. For information or advance lawn box reservations, call 805-493-3014 or visit Individual tickets are available only at the door.