Thursday, August 05, 1999

Area troupe offers leaner Shakespeare

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hamlet's famous advice for the Players? Forget the advice. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead — almost as soon as they're introduced.

        Shakespeare's Hamlet was 31/2 hours, but for the next few weeks, Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival will be offering a Prince of Denmark streamlined by almost half (including intermission).

        Festival artistic director Jasson Minadakis' judicious trims to Hamlet and A Midsummer Night's Dream are made to accommodate the 1999-2000 educational touring program Two Hours Traffic.

        The shows will be previewed this month before they head out to schools. Hamlet at 8 p.m. Fridays and Dream at 8 p.m. Saturdays at the festival theater, 719 Race St., downtown. Tickets are $10. Box office: 381-2273.

        It also will be the first chance for audiences to meet four of the company's eight new ensemble members:

        Sylvester Little Jr. (The Player King, Hamlet) hails from Birmingham, Ala., and is a recent graduate of Berea College in Berea, Ky. Corinne Mohlenhoff (Ophelia, Hamlet) comes to Cincinnati from New Jersey by way of San Francisco.

        Brian Phillips (Demetrius, Dream), a Pittsburgh native, comes to the festival by way of Ensemble Theatre's intern company. Keland Scher (Horatio, Hamlet) is a graduate of Miami University and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's “clown college.”

        Paul Riopelle (title role, Hamlet; Oberon, Dream) joined Cincinnati Shakespeare in time for last season's closer Two Gentlemen of Verona. His resume includes the National Shakespeare Company, the Shenandoah Shakespeare Express and off-Broadway.


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