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"At a time when we are literally slaughtered with motives that separate ourselves and our human experience on this planet, I believe in searching for those very simple and basic reminders of our common vulnerability," writes Angela D. Breckinridge, who is both the executive producer and star of Hamlet, as a way of explaining her decision to both stage and star in Shakespeare's classic. "... Hamlet reminds us that our will, our fears, our 'duty to ourselves and our loves, our confounding rational thought form the deepest human of human experience and meaning." Breckinridge is part of the newly formed Merely Players, so this debut staging at Southern Rep as part of the City Series, along with The Shakespeare Festival at Tulane's The Merchant of Venice, makes for a very interesting time for the Bard on the local boards. At a time when folks are getting criticized for trying to mount an all-female production of Grease, gender-bending casting has never been more interesting. NOCCA theater chair Ray Vrazel will direct Breckinridge along with Bert Pigg as King Claudius, Adriana Bate as Queen Gertrude (pictured at left, opposite Breckinridge) and Robyn Nolting as Ophelia. Tickets $23 general admission, $18 students/seniors and $15 for theater professionals.

8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, June 17-18; 3 p.m. Sunday, June 19
Southern Rep Theatre, 333 Canal St. (The Shops at Canal Place, third floor), 525-8441

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