Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Vpstart Crow Hamlet

By • Sep 28th, 2010 • Category: Reviews
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Vpstart Crow
Gregory Family Theatre, Manassas, VA
Through September 26th
3:00 with one intermission
$20/$15 Seniors and Students
Reviewed September 23rd, 2010

Hamlet is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. The play, set in Denmark, recounts how Prince Hamlet exacts revenge on his uncle Claudius, who has murdered Hamlet’s father, the King, and then taken the throne and married Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother.

Vpstart Crow is one of the new resident arts groups at the new Hylton Performing Arts Center on the campus of George Mason University in Manassas. The facility is gorgeous, with convenient parking, comfortable seats, a flexible, large, multi-level performance area.

Director Rob Batarla used the space at the Gregory Family Theatre effectively. The balcony that runs around three sides of the stage was used for several scenes in interesting ways. Actors exited the balcony area and quickly reappeared on the stage. Three separate playing areas were used individually and in groups, saving much time that would have been used at the Cramer Center moving furniture and other set pieces around. The show moved along briskly, although I couldn’t understand all of the actors’ lines. I don’t know if that problem was caused by the acoustics in the large room, or the actors not speaking clearly, or simply speaking too quickly.

This Hamlet was set in modern-day New Jersey. Bethany Goodell’s costumes were attractive. With the action taking place in New Jersey, guns were used in in place of swords, which led to a burst of laughter from the audience when Hamlet tells Hortaio to swear by his sword. Overall, Hamlet was a fine introduction of the Gregory Family Theatre to Vpstart Crow.

It will be interesting watching Vpstart’s season now that they have a new playground to work in. Next up is the classic A Christmas Carol, followed by James Goldman’s The Lion in Winter, Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, and finally Neil Simon’s Rumors.

From the Director

Thank you for coming to see our “Vpstartling” production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The work of the Bard is so incredible because in many ways it surpasses time and place. In looking at a creative way to present Hamlet, I was struck by how important family is in this show. A close friend mentioned to me that I could set the show with a mafia background. I found the idea intriguing, but I wanted to shy away from over the top “Godfather” references. Instead, I took a more modern, Soprano-like approach to the show. Thus, this production is set in modern-day New Jersey (without any “real housewives”). The concept of family, revenge, madness and love all play into our show just as they did in Shakespeare’s time, and I hope that you will agree. Many thanks to to all those who helped with this production during this very tumultuous time for me. You all know who you are. Thank you.

Rob Batarla


  • Bernardo: Carlos Fischler
  • Francisco: Daniel Kitchen
  • Horatio: Chris Whitney
  • Marcellus: Isaac Bennett
  • Ghost of Hamlet’s Father: Larry Keeling
  • Claudius: George Kitchen
  • Laertes: James Majewski
  • Polonius: Kevin Walker
  • Hamlet: Matthew Marcus
  • Gertrude: Sarah Rosenbaum
  • Attendant to Claudius: Journey Pforte
  • Ophelia: Bethany Goodell
  • Reynaldo: Carlos Fischler
  • Rosencrantz: Nathan Poe
  • Guildenstern: Will MacLeod
  • First Player/Player King: Isaac Bennett
  • Second Player/Player Queen: Tegan Cohen
  • Third Player/Lucianus: Daniel Kitchen
  • Fortinbras: Carlos Fischler
  • Fortinbra’ Captain: Journey Pforte
  • Laertes’ Follower: Tegan Cohen
  • Messenger: Daniel Kitchen
  • First Funeral Attendant: Journey Pforte
  • Second Funeral Attendant/Priest: Tegan Cohen
  • Osric: Isaac Bennett
  • Understudies: Hamlet: James Majewski


  • Artistic Director: Rob Batarla
  • Managing Director: Clemente Santiago III
  • Producer: Clemente Santiago III
  • Director: Rob Batarla
  • Assistant Director: Maureen Frank
  • 1st Stage Manager: Jay Wells
  • 2nd Stage Manager: Josh Waldman
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Dan Clark
  • Set Designer: Rob Batarla
  • Lighting Designer: Steven L. Barker
  • Sound Designer: Rob Batarla
  • Costumer Designer: Bethany Goodell
  • Fight Choreographer: Daniel Lee Mascarello
  • Light Board Operator: Johanna Schoenborn
  • Sound Board Operator: Nik Waldman
  • Hair and Makeup: Mary Price
  • Poster Designer: Brett Zinger

Disclaimer: Vpstart Crow provided a complimentary media ticket to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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