Theater: Hamlet

Tuesday, March 11

Like most people, I read the usual array of Shakespeare classics in high school. But it wasn't until I read Hamlet during my freshman year at USF that I truly began to appreciate the beauty of the Bard's written words. In case you've been living under a rock and aren't familiar with the plot, Hamlet is about a prince whose father, the king of Denmark, has recently passed away. The grave was still warm when his mother remarried his father's brother, Claudius, who ascended the throne posthaste. (OK, so it's a little Shakespeare-meets-Jerry Springer.) When Hamlet discovers via his father's vengeance-seeking ghost that his new stepfather murdered the king, he vows to exact revenge. This is not American Stage's first tussle with Shakespeare; the company's production of Othello last spring garnered much critical praise. Hamlet promises to be another impressive performance, so the real tragedy would be missing it. NY-based actor Gabriel Vaughan plays the title role; see Mark Leib's interview with him on p. xx. American Stage Theatre Company performs the play throughout March. March 7-30, 7:30 p.m. Tues.-Thurs., 8 p.m. Fri., 3 and 8 p.m. Sat., 3 p.m. Sun. (7:30 p.m. preview Thurs., March 6, 211 Third St. S., St. Petersburg, $22-$35 ($10 student rush tickets 30 minutes prior to curtain), 727-823-7529, americanstage.org.

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