‘The Real Inspector Hound’ and ‘15-Minute Hamlet’
Where: Olympic Theatre Arts, 414 N. Sequim Ave.
When: shows 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Sept. 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 6, 13, 20 — Champagne reception on Sept. 4 after show; $10 preview night 7:30 p.m. Sept. 3; pay-what-you-will night 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10
Tickets: $16, $14 OTA members/active military. Get tickets at box office 1-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, show door, by phone at 683-7326 and online (see below)
by MATTHEW NASH
Olympic Theatre Arts opens its latest season with a two-for-one special of sorts.
Two one-act plays “The Real Inspector Hound” and “15-Minute Hamlet” by Tom Stoppard run Sept. 4-20.
Director Lily Carignan said she thinks the idea of combining the two comedies is a “wonderful” idea.
“It provides variety for the actors,” she said. “15-Minute Hamlet” allows them to experiment. The concept is playing with theater. Even (“Inspector Hound”) is playing on theater.”
Each performance begins with “The Real Inspector Hound,” which brings two theater critics Moon (Edwin Anderson) and Birdboot (K. MacGregor) reviewing a typical murder mystery of their time.
However Stoppard shapes “Inspector Hound” to become a play-within-a-play as the critics accidentally become a part of the show.
Anderson said playing Moon in “Inspector Hound” and King Hamlet’s ghost and Laertes in “Hamlet” aren’t too dissimilar to some of his previous roles at OTA.
“(Moon) is almost like “The Big Lebowski,” Anderson said. “He’s a character who is inept for the situation he’s put into but he tries to roll with it.”
Following intermission, the whole cast transitions to “15-Minute Hamlet.”
Peter Greene, who appears as Magnus in “The Real Inspector Hound” and as Polonius in “15-Minute Hamlet,” designed the set and said, “There’s more to it than what meets the eye.”
“It’s a great reveal,” he said. “The backdrop is rolled up … it’s just like Elizabethan England … and it bounces down and we wheel out two 9-foot turrets.”
In the second half, “15-Minute Hamlet” highlights key scenes of the classic Shakespeare play where Prince Hamlet seeks vengeance against his uncle Claudius for killing his father King Hamlet and marrying the prince’s mother Gertrude.
Actors present the story in one 13-minute segment and again in 2 minutes.
Carignan, who directs at OTA for the first time, said she’s amazed at how well the cast work together and it carried over to staging “15-Minute Hamlet” in one day using everyone’s ideas.
As for the play itself, she said “it’s basically the Cliff Notes version of ‘Hamlet.’
“If you’ve never seen or read it before, you’ll still be able to understand the story and know the characters.”
The actors agree the transition between the two one-acts is seamless.
“We’ve done it in a way that’s very careful,” Carignan said.
But plenty of comedy comes out in both plays, actors say.
“They’re just a lot of lighthearted fun,” Anderson said.
He said this is his first time performing “Hamlet” in some form but he was cast in “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” before it was substituted for another play due to casting issues.
“It’s been a real problem finding enough actors and actresses,” he said.
“If there’s anyone who has ever considered acting, there’s a lot of great performances coming up. They should definitely consider coming down.”
For casting availability in upcoming performances, call OTA at 683-7326.
The two one-act plays’ actors also include Kai Lavatai, Dynara Rystrom, Jennifer Horton, Ingrid Voorheis and Colby Thomas.
The shows open at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4, with a champagne reception after the performance and run three weeks at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.