Case in point is actress Deborah Strang’s interpretation of the character Gertrude in “Hamlet,” which opens tonight.
Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, has lost her husband and has quickly married her husband’s brother, to the ire of her son, who held his father in the highest regard.
Gertrude is suffering from guilt, although the cause of the guilt is never really clear, Strang said. Some productions allude to the fact that Gertrude may have helped in the death of her husband.
“But I don’t interpret it that way,” Strang said. “She didn’t love him. She wished him dead. She finally got to marry the man she’s been in love with for years.”
And even though she knows Hamlet is upset, she believes he will get over his grief, Strang said.
Strang has made this role her own, Rodriguez-Elliott said.
“I think her take is very interesting,” she said. “Here’s a woman who has been freed of the burden of a bad relationship. She’s conflicted because her son is unraveling, and as a mother, she’s struggling with that.”
An awakening of the characters is also a part of the company’s second production, “The Rainmaker,” which is directed by Andrew Traister and begins previews on Oct. 4.
Character Lizzy Curry, a spinster at 27, is living with the men in her family on a farm during a devastating drought. Then, Bill Starbuck, the rainmaker and dream merchant, enters their world.
He comes in, transforms this family and instills hope, Rodriguez-Elliott said.
“He runs off, and they never see him again, but each person is changed, although he’s been in their life briefly,” she said. “He makes people believe in themselves, and that’s what he does for Lizzy.”
Traister is able to capture the honesty and conflict of this family, Rodriguez-Elliott said.
Traister is trying to make the characters as realistic as possible, he said.