Unique Set Design Contributes to ‘Hamlet’ Production

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The Union University Players bring a new perspective to William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, running until March 25 in the W. D. Powell Theatre.

David Burke, professor of theatre and director of the play, said Hamlet not only engages audiences through its unique set design but also surprises them with storytelling twists.

Burke said the set was designed by John Klonowski, visiting assistant professor of theatre. Klonowski created the set to be flexible for the multiple scenes and moods of the play, incorporating various stage levels, special lighting and contrasting textiles into the design.

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Klonowski and Burke began building the set in January alongside four student workers, Burke said. The team applied the finishing touches to the set March 18 – two days before the opening night.

“The set is a very unique piece of scenery – it’s almost like a giant piece of art,” Burke said. “I think it’s magical.”

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But the stage design is not the only point of interest, Burke noted, as the Union University Players have personalized the tragic tale in order to find their own voice in the play. While the story continues to be set in Denmark, Burke avoided linking the play to a certain time in history. Performers also wear contemporary clothing instead of traditional Shakespearean garb.

“Our version of Hamlet doesn’t come across the way people normally think about it,” Burke said. “It forces you to think about the story from a different point of view.”

For more information about the performance, visit www.uu.edu/theatre/.