DENVER CENTER: Lenne Klingaman to explore Hamlet's feminine side for Colorado Shakes

March 3, 2017

By John Moore

The Colorado Shakespeare Festival has announced casting for its 60th anniversary season in the summer of 2017, and it includes not only a female Hamlet, but one familiar to DCPA Theatre Company audiences. Lenne Kingaman, who played Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and two roles in Appoggiatura, will be mulling the meaning of her existence on the University of Colorado's intimate indoor stage. 

And DCPA veteran Robert Sicular will be playing Julius Caesar. He’s performed in 11 Theatre Company productions from 1994-2012, most recently Heartbreak House, The Liar and The Taming of the ShrewAnthony Powell (All the Way) directs.

"I’m super excited about the cast we’ve put together,” Producing Artistic Director Timothy Orr. “We worked really hard to assemble a group of local favorites — some of the best in Colorado — as well as actors from California and New York who we’ve been trying to get out here for several years.”

Carolyn Howarth is directing a contemporary version of Hamlet in a fresh way that should unlock more of the enduring mysteries of the play, Klingaman said.

“To be a woman sinking my teeth into a role that is so iconic, but from a female perspective, is going to allow us to open up the characters and the relationships in the story in a way that will help us find our way to an even more universal portrayal of the character and the play as a whole,” she said.

For centuries, women have been going through the same juggernaut of earth-shattering experiences Hamlet went through, Klingaman said. Audiences just have not been allowed to see that play out on a stage until now.

“To be a woman and to get to tackle those issues of power and mortality and duty and love will be extremely thrilling," Klingaman said. “But I am also excited about what it does to every relationship in the play" 

It should be noted that Ophelia still will be played by a woman (Emelie O'Hara).

“Our understanding of masculinity and femininity today is so different from Shakespeare’s time," she said. "Some of our ideas of what might be feminine today are now more in line with might have been considered masculine in Shakespeare’s time. I want to open up a more fluid conception of gender and masculinity and femininity. It's not just a question of one or the other."

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