Hamlet continues to run in repertory through much of June at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, where the amphitheater has been transformed into a richly-designed Elizabethan setting with new seating sections added on the stage. The new design has people talking, but the real buzz around ISF this summer is about the casting. Laura Welsh Berg and Jonathan Dyrud are alternating in the lead role—and when not playing the titular Danish prince, Berg and Dyrud are also part of the supporting company. On a rare day off, the two actors sat down with Boise Weekly to talk about a summer neither will soon forget.
Many actors have told me they go out of their way not to be influenced by another actor’s performance in the same role. I’m guessing that’s impossible for you two, because when one of you is portraying Hamlet, the other is playing Rosencrantz.
Dyrud: It’s a unique opportunity to serve up the lines the way you would like them served up. It’s a great way to be the best supporting character you can possibly be, because you want the exact same treatment when you’re playing Hamlet.
Berg: Yes, the same lines are spoken night to night, but our reactions to those lines are completely different. We look at two Hamlets, side by side, and realize this can be completely different. Being able to watch someone else and learn more about the same character you’ll be playing is a crazy, wonderful gift.
To that end, talk to me about each other’s Hamlet.
Berg: John’s Hamlet is beautiful; it’s emotional and immediate….
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