“Hamlet” is the second Shakespearean piece of this season and comes from Ballet Austin’s acclaimed Artistic Director Stephen Mills, whose version blends traditional ballet with contemporary staging to paint a striking picture of one of the world’s greatest playwright’s greatest dramas.
“‘Hamlet’ is a poignant and moving story,” said John McFall, Atlanta Ballet’s artistic director. “It is a story of a young person coming of age, experiencing life and death, and ultimately avenging the tragedy of his family.”
Benjamin Stone of Smyrna will be playing the role of Laertes, son of Polonius and brother of Ophelia. At the end of the ballet, he kills Hamlet with a poisoned sword to avenge the deaths of his father and sister.
“After Hamlet accidently kills Laertes’ father and is somewhat responsible for the mental breakdown of Ophelia — Laertes’ goal and passion is to get revenge. They have this epic sword fight at the end, and it ends in Laertes’ demise, unfortunately.”
Stone was born and raised in Australia and studied dance at the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne. This is his third season with Atlanta Ballet. He previously played Benvolio in “Romeo et Juliet” and danced in Ohad Naharin’s “Secus” in “Modern Choreographic Voices” earlier this season.
“I’m very lucky to be doing this role,” Stone said. “It’s a great, great role. It’s very exciting. … It’s a very dramatic ending and it’s choreographed really, really well. The sword-fighting sequences are exhilarating and quite intense.”
This rendition of “Hamlet” is a more modern take on the immortal tragedy, Stone said.
“It’s very modern - great set pieces and amazing music by Philip Glass who’s one of the most prestigious composers of our generation,” Stone said. “It’s going to be an amazing production.”
Mills, the artistic director, said the main reason he was initially intrigued with the concept of developing a ballet based on the play was being able to work with the music of Philip Glass.
“It’s really dance-inspiring,” Mills said.
Dancers have been rehearsing six hours a day, five days a week, Stone said.
“We’ve been rehearsing for two weeks to put on this production —two weeks of strenuous and intense rehearsals,” Stone said.
Audiences will love the new contemporary feel of a classic story and the fantastic music performed by the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra, Stone said.
“It’s very modern and the costumes are vibrant and the set pieces illustrate the literature so well. … It’s got a lot of drama.”
Other Cobb dancers who will perform in “Hamlet” include Pedro Gamino, Abi Tan Gamino, Jared Tan, Miguel Montoya, Alex Barros, Lydia Redpath, Kelsey Ebersold, Kelly Prather and Shaun Gheyssen.
Atlanta Ballet’s Hamlet opens Friday at 8 p.m. and runs for four performances at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. The Cobb Energy Centre is at 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. Tickets start at $20 and are on sale now. To purchase tickets, visit www.atlantaballet.com or call (404) 892-3303.
Want to go?
WHAT: “Hamlet” by Atlanta Ballet
WHEN: Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m.
WHERE: Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre
COST: Tickets start at $20 and are on sale now.
INFO: www.atlantaballet.com or call (404) 892-3303.