The Brains Behind Our Haunting HAMLET

We’re bringing Shakespeare’s haunting classic to regional schools and venues in 2018 with a diverse cast, world class direction, and support from a National Endowment for the Arts’ Shakespeare in American Communities grant.

Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (HVSF) has announced its 2018 Education Tour, a haunting, 90-minute production of HAMLET directed by Devin Brain, Associate Artistic Director of New York’s The Acting Company (TAC). Shakespeare’s iconic story of murder and madness will make initial stops at middle and high schools throughout the tri-state region between March 19 and May 4 and will be remounted in July for a brief HVSF On the Road tour of area venues and community spaces.

A young Hamlet_Photo by T. Charles Erickson from HVSFs 2017 production of The Book Of Will HVSF 6-17 013

“Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.” A young Hamlet examines the iconic skull in HVSF’s 2017 production of THE BOOK OF WILL. Photo by T. Charles Erickson.

Brain – whose work with TAC has focused on bringing classical productions to audiences around the country, including 90-minute adaptations of Macbeth and Julius Caesar, and working with students and teachers to mine the works of William Shakespeare for contemporary relevance – offers a unique vision for this most iconic of classics:

“For any of Shakespeare’s tragedies, and HAMLET more than most, the production must grapple with a simple and terrifying question: how do we represent death? This text is about death, about humanity’s complex reactions to the most universal of experiences, and includes a doubly fatal sword fight, a poisoning, two murders, a suicide, two executions, and a ghost… In crafting each of these moments, we attempt not to revel in the visceral excitement of realistic action, but with contemplation of the horror and loss that each represents.”

“Any of Shakespeare’s tragedies, and HAMLET more than most, must grapple with a simple and terrifying question: how do we represent death?”

Supported by a $25,000 National Endowment for the Arts’ (NEA) Shakespeare in American Communities grant, Prince Hamlet’s solemn station is brought to life by a diverse cast of seven. The grant, one of 40 awarded to nonprofit, professional theater companies throughout the country, is a national program of the NEA in partnership with Arts Midwest and directly supports HVSF’s work in 11 underserved schools.

Fresh off his run with HVSF’s three-person Fall 2017 Tour of Shakespeare’s THE COMEDY OF ERRORS, Jarrod Bates will take a turn for the dramatic in HAMLET’s title role. Bonnie Antosh returns to HVSF in the role of Horatio, following her 2014 appearance in HVSF’s Education Tour of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. They are joined by Festival newcomers Russell Carpenter (Laertes), Jo’Lisa Jones (Polonius), Anamari Mesa (Ophelia), James Parenti (Claudius, Ghost), and Simone Stadler (Gertrude).

Streamlined for clarity of both plot and language, the forthcoming tour will bring an intimacy and immediacy to the audience’s experience while maintaining the core of Shakespeare’s beloved text. Performances will be followed by a talkback with the actors, and educators participating in the Spring leg of the tour will be provided with a corresponding in-depth study guide.

TO BOOK THE TOUR: Please contact Associate Director of Education Nora Wilcox at or (845) 809-5750 ext. 13.


About the Artists

DEVIN BRAIN, Director: Devin Brain is currently the Associate Artistic Director for The Acting Company, a touring repertory company that focuses on classical texts for production in national tours. He has worked for the company for the past five years, directing both MACBETH and JULIUS CAESAR as well as developing and implementing a wide variety of educational programs across our national consortium. These include workshops like: From Page to Stage, Acting Clues in Shakespeare, Stage Combat, Devising Shakespeare, Audition and Monologue preparation, and more. These workshops were developed in partnership with institutions like The Guthrie Theatre, UMKC, SUNY Oswego, Hamilton College, Ohio University, Towson University, and many more. Devin is also a working freelance director, who has worked extensively in both Chicago and NYC. He holds an MFA in Directing from the Yale School of Drama, where he was the Artistic Director of both the Yale Cabaret and Yale Summer Cabaret. Before school he was a company member of the Chicago based Hypocrites Theatre Company, working with them on over 19 productions. Since graduating he has been working in NYC, staging both new and classical works in a wide variety of venues. Favorite credits include: All’s Well That Ends Well and Middletown at SUNY Purchase; The Fourth Graders Present an Unnamed Love-Suicide at 59e59; Commedia Dell’Artichoke with Frances Black Productions; Bones in the Basket: An Evening of Russian Fairy Tales with the Araca Project; The Serpent Woman with Tantalus Theatre; Rose Mark’d Queen (an adaptation of Henry V; Henry VI parts one, two, and three; and Richard III) at the Yale Summer Cabaret.

Antosh-Bonnie_HeadshotBONNIE ANTOSH, Horatio: Bonnie is delighted to return to HVSF, where past credits include the Educational Tour of Much Ado About Nothing. Off-Broadway and Regional: As You Like It and Othello (Nebraska Shakespeare); Hamlet and Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare on the Sound); Hamlet, R&J, Midsummer, Macbeth, and Imogen in Cymbeline (Adirondack Shakespeare); RETREAT (Two Headed Rep); Les Misérables and Sweeney Todd (WPPAC). Ads for Squarespace, Blue Apron, Audible, and Adobe. BA from Yale, originally from South Carolina. @Bonnie_Antosh

Bates-Jarrod_HeadshotJARROD BATES, Hamlet: Jarrod found his way to HVSF in the fall, touring a three-person adaptation of THE COMEDY OF ERRORS directed by Zachary Michael Fine. He trains in clown and commedia through the Funny School of Good Acting with Christopher Bayes, as well as Spymonkey’s Aitor Basauri. Favorite performances in Bryant Park with The Drilling Company include The Tempest, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, and The Taming of the Shrew. Most recently his new commedia show Jarrod Bates: Out of the Box and Onto Your Face created with Virginia Scott has begun to spread mayhem across the country. Jarrod is a graduate of The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, i.O. Chicago, and the Annoyance Theatre NYC.

Carpenter-Russell_HeadshotRUSSELL CARPENTER, Laertes: Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, Russell moved to New York to pursue his passion for acting. Since graduating from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, he continues to work on projects that inspire him. Russell is thankful for all the opportunities and people he has met along the way. He would like to thank his family and friends for their support, especially his Mom for continuously believing in his dreams.


Jones-Jo'Lisa_HeadshotJO’LISA JONES, Polonius: As a graduate of SUNY New Paltz in 2011, B.A. in Theatre Arts, Jo’Lisa was introduced to the magic of HVSF and is very happy to now be a part of this talented cast! She’s also excited to exploring Shakespeare’s dramatic text after recent credits of “Food Plays,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Reconfigured” and “Twelfth Night.” Jo’Lisa also spends her time freelancing as an Art Model and working as an Artistic Director for EMIT, an educational accessible immersive theatre company for learners of all ages!

Mesa-Anamari_HeadshotANAMARI MESA, Ophelia: Anamari is a New York based actor originally from Miami, Fl. She studied at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where she received her BFA in Acting. Film credits include Superior, by Erin Vassilopoulos, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015 and screened in several festivals around the world including the Berlinale, and the Hong Kong Film Festival. She has originated several theater roles, including Sue in Jake Shore’s Holy Moly at The Flea Theater, and Kel Tomas in Crystal Skillman’s Pulp Vérité.

Parenti-James_HeadshotJAMES PARENTI, Claudius: James is thrilled to be joining the HVSF team for the first time! Some stage credits include Angels in America and The Importance of Being Earnest (Playhouse on Park), The Tempest and Love’s Labour’s Lost (Hip to Hip), POPTART! (Girl Just Died), and Cupid & Psyche (Turn to Flesh.) Film/TV: Threeway, Adapting, Emergency Contacts. As a playwright, James has had his play May Violets Spring produced twice in NYC: by Dare Lab in 2014, and by Turn to Flesh Theatre in 2016. BFA, Marymount Manhattan College. Love to K.

Stadler-Simone_HeadshotSIMONE STADLER, Gertrude: Simone is delighted to be making her HVSF debut. Past roles include Portia in Julius Caesar (Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival), the titular bloody Thane in Macbeth, Laertes in Hamlet, Boyet in Love’s Labour’s Lost (all with the Adirondack Shakespeare Company), Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet (EMIT Theater), Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Brooklyn One), and Satan in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. Simone is also a film producer and recently finished post-production on the independent feature film, When We Grow Up, which was shot with an entirely female-identifying crew.




Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s production of HAMLET
is part of Shakespeare in American Communities,
a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest



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