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Renowned Aquila Theatre Company stages Hamlet, Jekyll & Hyde

Date of release:10/05/05

SAN MARCOS—The acclaimed Aquila Theatre Company brings its uniquely imaginative talent to Texas State University-San Marcos Oct. 14-15 with performances of William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Hamlet and a new stage adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde.

Hamlet, directed by Robert Richmond, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 14 while The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, adapted by Peter Meineck and directed by Richmond, will be 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15. Both performances will be held in Evans Auditorium on the Texas State campus. Tickets for each show are $10 for the general public, $5 for students.

The performances are a part of the Encore Series 05, presented by Texas State Performing arts and SACA, with additional funding provided by the Mid-America Arts Alliance, the Texas Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and Wells Fargo Bank.

Aquila is a company of British and American artists dedicated to classical drama.

Founded in London in 1991 by Meineck, the company is now based in New York City. Aquila is the foremost producer of touring classical theatre in the United States, visiting 60-70 American cities per year.

Advance tickets can be purchased by calling (877) TIC-TXST or (512) 245-2030 or visiting the Evans box office, open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday through Oct. 14, and at 5 p.m. the night of each performance.

For more information, visit the University Arts website at or contact Events Coordinator Liz McDonald at (512) 245-3501.

Hamlet is arguably Shakespeare’s greatest play. Written in 1602, it is one of the most complete portrayals of the human psyche that exists in western literature. A compelling tale of familial discord, personal ambition, love and revenge, Hamlet has enthralled audiences for 400 years.

Aquila’s productions of Shakespeare have been acclaimed by The New Yorker as “beautifully spoken, dramatically revealing and crystalline in effect.” The New York Times says that Aquila “makes Shakespeare perfectly comprehensible” and hails the company as “an extraordinarily inventive and disciplined outfit.”

Hamlet is away at University when he hears that his father, the King of Denmark, has suddenly died, and his mother, Gertrude, has married his Uncle Claudius. He is recalled to Denmark where he seethes, consumed with grief and anger. Haunted by the ghost of his father, Hamlet becomes obsessed with the idea that his uncle murdered his father and that his mother has been disloyal, and that he must avenge his father’s death. His strange behavior at court leads to his family believing that his love for Ophelia is driving him to distraction. When Hamlet has a traveling group of actors perform a scene that closely resembles the murder of his father, Claudius arranges to have him sent to England and killed.

The plan is thwarted and in the meantime Ophelia, confused, heartbroken and bereft of her father Polonius--who has been accidentally killed by Hamlet--drowns herself. Claudius convinces her brother Laertes to challenge Hamlet to a duel, and the play concludes with a frantic swordfight laced with poisoned wine and tragic death.

Directed by Robert Richmond, and featuring the Company’s finest actors, Aquila’s Hamlet will seek to shed new light on this vitally important play for a twenty-first century audience in a production that will prove exciting, innovative and accessible.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
The prolific Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island, Kidnapped) virtually invented the genre of modern horror fiction with his gripping classic work The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. Set in Victorian London, a city of fog, dark alleyways, creaking doors and suspicious inhabitants, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde begins with a disturbing account of a small child being abruptly knocked down by a brutally ugly man who disappears into the shadowy London streets. Compelled to investigate, the lawyer Utterson begins a manhunt that plunges him into the deepest recesses of upper class London society as he delves into the murky activities of the noted doctor Edward Jekyll.

In his tortured quest to formulate a potion to create love and happiness, Jekyll unleashes the evil side of his humanity in the fearsome form of Mr. Hyde, a base, malformed and powerful creature whose unfettered behavior creates havoc as he stalks the nocturnal streets of London. The brutal murder of Jekyll’s trusted medical colleague leads Utterson to a secret laboratory where behind the door cruel secrets lie.

Aquila’s new production of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde draws on the company’s long tradition of adapting important classic stories for the stage (Homer’s The Iliad, Rudyard Kipling’s The Man Who Would Be King, H. G. Wells’ The Invisible Man). Aquila’s bold and innovative storytelling, respect for the original text and compelling stagecraft have been acclaimed by The New York Times as “making an old tale brim with timely resonance--enhancing it’s relevance to the 21st century.” The Wall Street Journal hails “bravura acting and innovative staging--all quite gripping.” Using original music and choreography and the best actors from London and New York The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde promises to be an unforgettable evening of spine- tingling, thoughtful and exciting theatre.