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"Two Gentlemen of Verona" Opens Thursday at Hamden High

Tickets sold for the Hamden High School Mainstage Ensemble production for last week will be good the same night of the new week.

The Hamden High School Mainstage Ensemble, which postponed its run of Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen Of Verona, by one week due to the effects of Storm Sandy, it preparing for its performances this week.

The show, originally scheduled to open on Thursday, Nov. 1, will now run Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8, 9 and 10. All shows will still begin at 7:30 p.m.

With this production of Two Gents, the Mainstage Ensemble continues its tradition of presenting challenging and exciting theatre offerings. In the past few years, the group has tackled the farcical Noises Off, the poignant
Caucasian Chalk Circle, the dazzling Chicago and the hilarious Curse Of An Aching Heart.

Two Gentlemen of Verona concerns two men, Valentine and Proteus who set off on very different paths. Valentine is off to the city to seek experience, while Proteus plans to remain home to be with his love Julia. Valentine rails on the silliness of love and wishes his friend would
join him in the city. Proteus’s mother decides that her son should join Valentine and they are reunited.

In the lapsed time, Valentine has been stricken by the love bug and falls for Silvia, daughter of the Dean where he is attending school. She, however, is promised to an unappealing suitor.

Proteus, upon his arrival, promptly forgets his love for Julia and falls for Silvia. He sets out on a plot to steal her love from Valentine by revealing their planned elopement to the Dean. His former love, Julia, missing her man, disguises herself as a woman and seeks him out in the city – only to find he is wooing Silvia. The craziness culminates when most of the characters are captured by a band of female outlaws bringing them all together to reveal the madness that has ensued.

Director Eric Nyquist has chosen to set this version of the play in 1931 at Columbia University in New York City. Music of the era will be used and some of the characters have been adapted to fit the period. The servants Lance and Speed have been transformed into vaudeville comedians reminiscent of Burns and Allen or Shaw and Lee.

Nyquist holds a Master’s Degree of Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University. His acting and directing credits include 10 years with Connecticut Free Shakespeare, and earlier work with The Moscow Art
Theatre (Russia), Public Domain (NYC) and The American Studio Theatre (NYC).

The set design is by Doug Frawley, costuming by Sara Normand and lighting by Gregory J. Downing. The cast is made up of a combination of seasoned Hamden High veterans and newcomers. 

Seniors Gavin McNicholl and Scott Redmond, real life best friends, play the roles of Valentine and Proteus. According to Scott, “The chance to play these roles is fantastic because we get to draw upon our real life friendship. It makes it very real and easy to portray. The part where I betray him? That’s harder. It makes us have to examine jealousies and negatives. But we can separate the characters from ourselves after rehearsal. It’s been fun to rehearse and I think it will be fun to watch for the audience”.

Freshman Nicollet LaFramboise portrays Silvia, the object of both of their eyes. Senior Emily Jones plays the scorned Julia, while sophomore Adele Gelperin takes on the role of her assistant. The duo of vaudevillian servants are played by Joseph Benitez and Alyssa Santos. Other cast members include Brandon King, Leah Kesselman, Natalia Katz and
Audrey Campbell, who provides live jazz vocals of the era. 

The play will run Thursday through Saturday, November 8 -10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Hamden High School Auditorium. Reserved seating is $10 (senior citizens $8 for any performance; students $5 for opening night only). Orders can be placed by calling 203-407-2040 x 3102 or emailing hhsmainstage@yahoo.com.

For more information, visit their website at www.hamdenmainstage.org.

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