Shakespeare’s Tragedy ‘Hamlet’ to be Performed on Bedell Stage


by News Bureau on Friday, Oct. 28, 2011


CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Oct. 28, 2011—“Hamlet,” one of William Shakespeare’s most popular and powerful tragedies, will be performed at 7:30 Nov. 9-12 and 2 p.m. Nov. 13 in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall at the Southeast Missouri State University River Campus.

The three-hour play, directed by Dr. Kenn Stilson, interim chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, is being presented thanks to a grant from the Missouri Arts Council.

“Hamlet is William Shakespeare’s greatest work and considered by most critics to be the greatest play ever written,” Stilson said. “Power, energy, and excitement surge through every scene.”

“Hamlet is the timeless tale of murder, corruption and revenge,” he said.

“This production will be set in the 16th-century in the sprawling Kronborg Castle in Elsinore, Denmark, as seen through the opulent splendor of the Pre-Raphaelites. The energy is electrifying and the excitement of the Bard’s words and an adventurous style lift the story from its often shadowy ambience to fully-lit pageantry and rage,” Stilson said.

The story follows Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, in his quest for revenge against his uncle, Claudius. Claudius murdered the King of Denmark, his brother and Hamlet’s father, and then claimed the throne and married Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother. Vividly portraying real and feigned madness, the tragedy explores themes of treachery, revenge and moral corruption.

“The production also will feature the designs of three special guest artists, Patrick Atkinson, Dean Packard, and Southeast’s own Bill Black,” Stilson said. “It’s going to be a gorgeous show.”

“This is the first time we’ve brought in three guest designers for the same show,” said Rhonda Weller-Stilson, interim director of the Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts.

Atkinson, professor emeritus in the Department of Theatre at the University of Missouri-Columbia, will serve as the set designer. Atkinson previously was the scenic guest designer for last year’s production of “Anything Goes” and the 2006 production of “Romeo and Juliet” in Rose Theatre.

Atkinson taught computer graphics, scenic design, scene painting, theatre architecture and theatre management classes at the University of Missouri from 1979 until 2010. During this time, he twice served as theatre department chair and managed the Summer Repertory Theatre. He designed scenery for University theatre productions every year and periodically served as a guest artist at other regional theatres.

His designs have been presented in regional, national and international exhibits and have received numerous achievement awards from the American College Theatre Festival. He has designed many original productions, including seven chosen to be performed at regional American College Theatre festivals. Two of these plays, “11 Zulu and Strands,” won national playwriting recognition and eventually went on to the national festival at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He has published “Theatrical Design in the Twentieth Century: An Index to Photographic Reproductions of Scenic Designs.” His current research interest concerns artist’s images of the stage.

Black, a Southeast alumnus, will serve as the costume designer. Black is associate department head and professor of costume design and technology at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Black will receive an Alumni Merit Award Oct. 21 during Southeast’s Homecoming festivities.

Black has been designing, teaching and directing the production of costumes for the University of Tennessee-Knoxville’s Department of Theatre and the Clarence Brown Theatre Company for more than 30 years and has participated in the production of more than 200 plays, musicals and operas.  An active professional designer, his work has been seen across the country at professional theatres such as Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Denver Center Theatre Company, Madison Repertory Theatre, Pioneer Theatre Company, Playmakers Repertory Company, Roundhouse Theatre, Skylight Opera Theatre, Tennessee Repertory Theatre, Three Rivers Shakespeare Festival, and for nearly 20 seasons at the Tony Award Winning Utah Shakespearean Festival.  His costume design work has been listed among “Pittsburgh’s Best”, “Best of Season” by the “Salt Lake Tribune,” and he is a two-time winner of the Knoxville Area Theatre Coalition award for best costume design.  In 1996 and in 2004 he was awarded the John F. Kennedy Medallion for outstanding service to the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival.  He served two terms as president of the Tennessee Theatre Association and two terms as Tennessee state representative to the board of the Southeastern Theatre Conference.

Packard, adjunct associate professor of stagecraft, lighting design and sound design, technical director and designer in the Department of Theatre at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is responsible for the show’s lighting design. He supervises the lighting design, sound design and technical direction of all productions in the department’s two theatres. He also designs lighting, sound and scenery for the department as well as many guest artists. His designs have received numerous achievement awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, and he has been awarded the Purple Chalk Award for excellence in teaching.

Tickets are on Sale Now.

Tickets may be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by calling (573) 651-2265, or online at