The Food Bank Players' Hamlet Postponed

Nandini Sharma -- The Food Bank Players performed the first three shows of Shakespeare’s Hamlet on August 19 to 21 at the Healing Garden.

The Food Bank Players' Hamlet Postponed

The Food Bank Players announced recently that they had to postpone the last two dates for their production of Shakespeare's Hamlet after several cast members were diagnosed with COVID-19. The last two shows were scheduled for Saturday, August 27 and Sunday, Aug. 28. Director Gene Kane announced on Instagram that the Players are looking to reschedule the last two dates for some time in September.

"The Foodbank Players is sad to announce that we will be cancelling our performances this weekend of Hamlet due to an outbreak of COVID among the cast," read the Instagram post. "Thank you to everyone for your patience, generosity and support of the Foodbank Players and the Alameda Food Bank."

The Food Bank Players were able to perform the three shows of the play. On August 19, 20, and 21, the Food Bank Players presented Shakespeare’s Hamlet at The Healing Garden, 1435 Webster St. The classic tragedy was produced to raise money for the Alameda Food Bank, and the show accepted donations for the cause.

The show included a large stage with a platform as well as a floor area to perform surrounded by benches. Watched by an enraptured audience of all ages, the show also included interactions with the audience, especially during character monologues. Another interesting aspect of their performance was that they were not bound by the traditional gendered roles in the play and presented personalized interpretations of the characters in the world of the Danish kingdom.

With an amazing voice production, the actors elicited a range of emotions from the audience. Especially the dramatic scenes that included Prince Hamlet encountering the ghost of his father, and Ophelia’s grief upon the death of her mother, Polonius. The most famous monologue from the play, which begins with Hamlet’s conundrum: “to be or not to be,” engaged the audience as the actor gave them cue cards to join in.

All of these elements came together to create a great show, with spellbinding performances from each actor. While Rosencrantz and Gildenstern provided great comic relief to the tragic aspects of the story, Prince Hamlet presented a performance that showed a great balance between grief and cunning. Similarly, Queen Gertrude, King Claudius and Polonius’ camaraderie were equally interesting to watch as they expressed the complexity of their emotions. Even though certain parts from the original story were edited out, this show was perfectly adapted for a modern audience through both the script, props, and costumes.

As the show ended with a musical performance that slowly included the entire cast, the Shakespearean story had come to life through the actors’ strength and superb production.

The cast includes:
Hamlet — Devon La Bar
Ophelia — Sylvia Annis
Francisco/Player Queen — Alexander Hayden
Bernardo/Grave Digger — Shayna Ann Howlett
Marcellus/Player King — James Moore
Horatio — Stephen Sherwood
Ghost — Bill Brobeck
King Claudius — Kenneth Matis
Queen Gertrude — Lisa Appleyard
Polonius — Anna L. Joham
Laertes/Rosencrantz — Caitlin Kenney
Attendant/Sailor — Mae Spiegel
Attendant/Grave Digger — Scout Park
Osric/Priest — Sally Geary
Guildenstern — Kate Rockwell
Player Lucianus — Gene Kahane

The crew includes:
Director/Scenic Design/Props — Gene Kahane
Assistant Director/ Costume Direction — Quinn Gilchrist
Stage Manager — Aris Wong
Beard Construction — Kate Rockwell

The Food Bank Players announced they raised more than $2,000 for the Alameda Food Bank.