I was looking for the actor Sean Lewis, who is slated to play the lead role in “Hamlet,” which will be performed outdoors at Bryce Station Vineyards, July 20 through Aug. 19.
The man bent over a bucket of water, washing his paint brush, stood up and said, “I’m Sean Lewis.” Opening night was less than two weeks away, and the whole crew, actors, director, techies, were working late into the hot summer evening, getting the set ready.
He said he was excited to act in Shakespeare’s famous tragedy. I asked him if they were going to do it straight-up, traditional, and he said, yes, except that the play would be set in “1930s Denmark,” instead of the 1500s.
“Why 1930s?” I asked. He replied that the times we live in now, in America, closely resembles that time of pre-WWII, with the shadow of Hitler and the Nazis every increasing and looming. He said he and the crew felt that the play “Hamlet” was more relevant and urgent than ever.
And with that, he apologized and excused himself. There was still a lot of work to do to prepare the set before it was ready.
The play will be directed by Tara Kayton, who is also the founder of the Shakespeare on the Vine Theatre Company. It will be their third year of performing Shakespeare at the winery. Last year, they put on a successful production of “Taming of the Shrew.” Kayton graduated from Yale with a masters degree in theatre arts.
The performance space at Bryce Station Vineyards is breath-taking, set on a grassy meadow on a hilltop with a canyon view. Theatre-goers are welcomed to bring their own lawn chairs and picnic items. The vineyard will sell wine and the Red Apple, a nearby bakery, will offer a variety of home-made pies.
Where: 3353 East Highway 4, Murphys
Tickets: $20, available at the door or at https://www.artful.ly/brice-station-vineyards