Curtain-up on two stage classics

Bryan Hiles and Clare Mortimer in Think Theatre’s Hamlet.

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BY BILLY SUTER

AWARD-WINNING Durban actor Bryan Hiles, most recently seen as the dilly dame in KickstArt’s panto, Sinbad the Sailor, and as the title character in KickstArt’s James and the Giant Peach, gave one of the best local performances of 2017 when he took the title role in Think Theatre’s Hamlet. Now he is all set to do it again.

He will be starring again as the troubled Danish prince in Think Theatre’s annual staging of plays by William Shakespeare that are aimed at school audiences but which also have public performances. These teaching-aid productions of Shakespeare set works for matric pupils – this year, the great tragedies, Hamlet and Othello – are staged in association with The Playhouse Company.

Performances of Hamlet and Othello, both directed by Clare Mortimer, have been scheduled for the Hilton College Theatre in Hilton  between February 1 and 9, and at Durban’s  Playhouse Drama between February 12 and March 16. Schools performances at each venue will be at 9am and noon, Mondays to Fridays.

The plays will also tour, in May, to Gauteng. These will play at the University of Johannesburg from May 7 to 18, and at the Brooklyn Theatre in Pretoria from May 21 to 25.Pre-bookings are essential. All bookings for Think Theatre’s national tour are through Doreen Stanley at 084 556 0668, Fax: 086 402 9592 or email doreen@thinktheatre.co.za.

Chris van Rensburg as Iago with Nhlakanipho Manqele as Othello in Think Theatre’s production of the Bard’s Othello.

With its varied themes of racism, love, jealousy and betrayal, Othello remains as relevant to present-day audiences as it ever was, points out publicist William Charlton-Perkins.

“Multi-award-winning director, writer, teacher and actress, Clare Mortimer, once again directs a star-studded cast to provide an action-packed performance, which keeps the audience enthralled… and helps learners to understand and enjoy Shakespeare,” he says in a press release.

“With her wealth of experience as a Matric English teacher (both in private and government schools) Clare has cleverly kept this production (as well as Hamlet) to a manageable two hours, closely following all the relevant themes the learners need to know.”

Durban Theatre Award-winner Nhlakanipho Manqele once again reprises his interpretation of the play’s tragic title role, with Cara Roberts again returning as his ill-fated young wife, Desdemona. The rest of the cast, headed by Chris van Rensburg with his chilling portrayal of the villainous Iago and Mortimer as his wife Emilia, again features Michael Gritten, Marc Kay, Bryan Hiles, Rowan Bartlett and Darren King.

Often hailed as Shakespeare’s greatest work, Hamlet centres on themes of death, betrayal, greed, murder and revenge.

Often described as a typical “revenge play”, any careful study reveals it to be very much more. Does a good and purposeful life on earth triumph? Are vile and criminal acts always punished? Further, what is the purpose of our lives in the time we are given if decency has the same end as treachery?  These questions are valid today – in our homes, our schools and among our leaders.

Mortimer  once more takes the reins, and audiences can be certain of a complete production, with full sets and costume, and the greatest of care given to the text.

Hiles takes the title role of the tragic Prince of Denmark, with Cara Roberts appearing as the tragic young heroine, Ophelia. Mortimer plays Hamlet’s mother Gertrude, with Claudius, Hamlet’s treacherous step father, portrayed by Michael Gritten.

Hamlet’s friend, Horatio, is played by Nhlakanipho Manqele with Darren King as Polonius and his son Laertes performed by Marc Kay. The production’s also features Chris van Rensburg, Rowan Barlett and Straw Nzimande.

For further information contact Doreen on 084 556 0668 or Margie on 083 251 9412.  If they are unable to answer your call please send a text message with your request, your name and your school’s name.


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