CU Shakespeare Festival flips “Hamlet” on its head with female lead – Colorado News

CU Shakespeare Festival flips “Hamlet” on its head with female lead – Colorado News

Ava Kostia (Laertes) and Lenne Klingaman (Hamlet) sword fight in a production of “Hamlet.” (Jennifer Koskinen, provided by Colorado Shakespeare Festival)

It matters. It matters not. It matters, it …

So go the two competing thoughts that the Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s production of “Hamlet”  teases — and sustains. After all, this trip to Denmark — the ninth by the Boulder-based company in its 60 years — features actress Lenne Klingaman in the plum role of theater’s most famous prince.  Er, princess.

If the bittersweet prince is famous for his melancholy and indecision, Klingaman’s performance can’t be accused of either.  Will her vigorous, supple performance silence every naysayer or purist? Of course not. But her phrasing delivery is beautifully nimble, the better to hear the play’s promiscuously sampled phrases in bloody, royal context.

(My first “Hamlet” unfolded at CSF’s Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre in 1980 and gobsmacked me with how so much of the language was already familiar.)

Klingaman’s heir is quick-tongued and savvy, evident when she meets with old classmates Rosencrantz (Michael Bouchard) and Guildenstern (Sean Scrutchins).

(The three and a few more castmates will reconvene in CSF’s mounting of Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead” July 21 -Aug. 13.)

Her sword play in the climatic bout with Laertes is assured. Hamlet’s sporting showiness gives way to his ill temper.

Directed by Colorado Shakes’ veteran Carolyn Howarth, “Hamlet” is a handsome outing. Yes, even with the titular royal making her first appearance in a lovely plum gown (all of Hugh Hanson’s Edwardian-era…

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