Sunday, May 27, 2018
Features and More

Power of 'Hamlet' translates well in Asolo Repertory Theatre's Spanish production

SARASOTA — One advantage of the Asolo Repertory Theatre's Spanish-language production of Hamlet, Prince of Cuba — or Hamlet, el Principe de Cuba — is the familiarity of the story. Like going to a well-known opera in another language than English, say, La Boheme or Carmen, it was easy to become absorbed in the performance Thursday night, when the company premiered a new Spanish translation by Nilo Cruz.

As a rudimentary Spanish speaker at best, I can't judge Cruz's version, but it sounded good, and the famous speeches, like Ser or no ser, he aqui la pregunta (To be or not to be, that is the question), weren't hard to pick out. There were English supertitles above the proscenium arch, though much of the enthusiastic audience seemed to be fluent in Spanish.

Frankie J. Alvarez, above, was sensational as Hamlet. Instead of the melancholy Dane of cooler, more analytical interpretations, he was a hot-blooded firebrand of a prince, an approach that worked well in director Michael Donald Edwards' fast-paced adaptation, which sets the play in 19th century Cuba around the time of the war for independence from Spain. Alvarez and other principals are bilingual. With the exception of a couple of actors, the cast has been performing Shakespeare's tragedy in English since March and deserve magnificent kudos for now switching to Spanish in such convincing fashion.

With Alvarez's Hamlet anchoring the drama, any language barrier soon slipped away in the inspired portrayals of Claudio (Emilio Delgado), Gertrudis (Mercedes Herrero), Laertes (Andhy Mendez) and Ofelia (Gisela Chipe). With an excellent set (designed by Dane Laffrey) and costumes (Clint Ramos), the production is interesting looking but not particularly Cuban, except for a Santeria shaman (Gonzalo Madurga) in tropical white, puffing on a cigar. A highlight was the duel between Hamlet and Laertes.

Though the analogy is far from exact, Edwards' adaptation suggests parallels between Hamlet and Cuban history, with Claudio, the morally compromised ruler, as Batista and the rebellious Hamlet as Castro. One explicit reference is Fortimbras (Tony Stopperan) coming upon the carnage at the end as a Teddy Roosevelt-style Rough Rider.

Comments
With makeover, ZooTampa at Lowry Park takes a page from the theme parks

With makeover, ZooTampa at Lowry Park takes a page from the theme parks

TAMPA — Behind the construction walls near the carousel at ZooTampa at Lowry Park, hammers, saws and power drills made a racket in the blazing Friday heat. A raft full of 100-pound water jugs took test trips on the new Roaring Springs ride set ...
Published: 05/25/18
Rare red wolf pups born at ZooTampa

Rare red wolf pups born at ZooTampa

The pups are an important addition to the populations of this rare Florida species, and the first red wolf births at the zoo since 1993.
Published: 05/25/18
Veterans get in free at Busch Gardens, SeaWorld and more with Memorial Day deals

Veterans get in free at Busch Gardens, SeaWorld and more with Memorial Day deals

Memorial Day is a time to say "thank you" to our veterans. The following is a list of free offers for them to enjoy. Some even last all summer.• Busch Gardens and SeaWorld are offering U.S. veterans and up to three guests get free admission to the th...
Published: 05/25/18
Denis Phillips, hurricane season guru, talks his signature beer, suspenders and Rule #7

Denis Phillips, hurricane season guru, talks his signature beer, suspenders and Rule #7

SAFETY HARBOR — Denis Phillips cracks a pop-top and pulls a can that looks a lot like him to his lips."It’s got that citrusy feel to it," he says. "Which is a Florida thing. That’s not bad." Indeed, there’s a grapefruit finish to Rule #7 Hurricane Sa...
Published: 05/25/18
Hooper: More than a restaurant, Lee Roy Selmon’s was a meeting place

Hooper: More than a restaurant, Lee Roy Selmon’s was a meeting place

It’s where former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Doug Williams had lunch with current Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston.It’s where University of South Florida fans often gathered to watch the program’s biggest road games.It’s where folks showed up in...
Published: 05/24/18
Eight women accuse Morgan Freeman of sexual misconduct in CNN report

Eight women accuse Morgan Freeman of sexual misconduct in CNN report

Eight women have accused actor Morgan Freeman of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior on-set, at his production company, and during press junkets, according to a report.CNN reports that 16 people have spoken out against Freeman’s alleged misco...
Published: 05/24/18
Ballet Nacional de Cuba stuns with a spectacular ‘Giselle’

Ballet Nacional de Cuba stuns with a spectacular ‘Giselle’

TAMPA — The Ballet Nacional de Cuba performed Giselle, its signature ballet, on Wednesday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. Fifty-four dancers charmed a packed house, culminating in about two hours an effort that took more tha...
Published: 05/24/18
Bar review: Things are hopping at new Swan Brewing in Lakeland

Bar review: Things are hopping at new Swan Brewing in Lakeland

Lakeland’s a little out of the way, but I’m always eager to check out the bar scene there when passing through or attending an event. Every place I’ve visited just seems so pleasant.I regret missing the boat on the city’s first brewery, Lakeland Brew...
Published: 05/24/18
tbt* local craft beer of the week: Dark Harbor Mocha Stout, Sea Drift Ales & Lagers

tbt* local craft beer of the week: Dark Harbor Mocha Stout, Sea Drift Ales & Lagers

The saga of Barley Mow Brewing Company and its eventual offshoot/successor Sea Drift Ales & Lagers is a complicated one. The most interesting part is how the latter came to be as a result of brewery-distributor tensions, in which Barley Mow pulled an...
Published: 05/24/18
Dr. Beach ranks Caladesi Island No. 7 on list of country’s best beaches

Dr. Beach ranks Caladesi Island No. 7 on list of country’s best beaches

Caladesi Island’s "crystalline quartz" sand and "sparkling clear" water left an impression on Dr. Beach, who ranked it in his annual list of the country’s top 10 beaches.Dr. Beach, or Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, is a professor and director for the Lab...
Published: 05/24/18