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Polonius is a bit of Joy coming from this production of Hamlet

Joy Robert lo res copyRobert Joy stars as Polonius in the upcoming STC production of "Hamlet." COURTESY PHOTO William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” which many consider the greatest play in the English language, of course focuses on the title character. Hamlet returns from university after the sudden death of his father, the King of Denmark, to find his uncle now on the throne married to his mother – and encounters his father’s ghost who reveals he was murdered and urges Hamlet to take revenge.

But the play is rich in other complex characters, including Polonius. Adviser to the current king, as he was to the late monarch, Polonius is also the father of Ophelia, Hamlet’s erstwhile love interest, and Laertes, who was Hamlet’s friend.

Polonius gives us a famous speech, which appears fatuous on the surface, yet offers such wisdom as: “This above all: to thine own self be true.”

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Round House asks what if Shakespeare’s works were lost?

BOW 72 copy Book of WillTodd Scofield (center) and cast members in Round House’s production of “The Book of Will.” COURTESY PHOTOIn the past, actor Todd Scofield has inhabited many roles in local and regional theater as well as on television, but these days he’s playing a character who shares one of his conflicts – how to balance the demands of family and a beloved profession.

A couple of differences between him and John Heminges – the character he portrays in the Round House Theatre’s current production “The Book of Will,” – are that Heminges lived in the 1600s and had 13 children, compared to Scofield’s paltry two.

Heminges was both an actor in the King’s Players (the acting company for which William Shakespeare wrote) and also with Henry Condell worked as an editor of the First Folio, the 1623 edition of The Bard’s collected works.

The play explores what might have happened had the two actors not been so proactive.

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Going for the classics - in play and staged reading - at Lumina

Barnaby Rudge Lumina Studio Theatre copyLumina Studio Theatre’s spring 2017 production of Dickens's “Barnaby Rudge.” This season, Lumina will present productions of “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Great Expectations.” COURTESY PHOTO  Shakespeare aficionados know he wrote a comedy called “Love's Labor Lost.” What they may not know of is that the Bard apparently wrote a sequel entitled “Love's Labor Won.”

“The play itself was probably lost, sitting on a dusty shelf somewhere,” said David Minton, artistic director of the Lumina Studio Theatre. “But we do have his ‘Much Ado About Nothing,’ which is pretty much a sequel to ‘Love's Labor Lost.’”

Lumina is presenting “Much Ado About Nothing” in the first two weekends of December in a blended production. Part of the first act will be a play within a play, of “Love's Labor Lost.”

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“All the world is a stage”

And this theater group teaches local youths how to become empowered as players

Theater group 2Traveling Players Ensemble founder & director Jeanne Harrison. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER

MCLEAN, VIRGINIA – Students who joined a theater program with the intention of learning to act said they received more than they expected.

Maereg Gebretekle, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School junior, and Jeremy Wenick, a Walt Whitman sophomore, said they had wanted to acquire theater experience outside what their high schools had to offer.

“It’s given me a lot of theater experience that I never thought I would get,” Gebretekle said after a rehearsal Friday. “I didn’t know theater was run this way because I only did one show and it wasn’t even that big of a deal in middle school,” she said, remembering her school play.

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