The talent and energy in “Hamlet: Blood in the Brain” is a testament to the hard work of the students and teachers of OakTechRep, Oakland Technical High School’s student theater company. The play, written by Naomi Iizuka, sets Shakespeare’s Hamlet in 1989 Oakland.
Marcus Thompson turns in a stunning performance as an angry and pensive Hamlet. Keyera Lucas-Evans adds depth to the scheming Claudius, or “C” in this version, as he struggles with whether killing Hamlet will send him to hell. Hamlet’s mother Gertrude, or “G”, played by Kenya Hall, is a surprisingly adult presence on the stage, while Tyree Wilson and Gareth Tidball provide some comic relief as “L1″ and L2”, the single character Laretes in the original. Krystal Peterkin, as Hamlet’s ghost father, is hauntingly forceful and Tenecia Redding’s Ophelia, or O, is spunky and smart even as she contemplates what it would feel like to die in the San Francisco Bay. The rest of the ensemble works together to present this age-old tragedy in all of its dark and powerful glory.
“Hamlet: Blood in the Brain” will be performed again tonight at 7 p.m. at Oakland Tech’s auditorium at 42nd and Broadway. There will be 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. performances on Saturday. Tickets are $5 at the door.
Oakland Tech will take this show on the road this spring and perform it around the Bay Area. In August, they will take the show the world’s largest performing arts festival, the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. Tech was selected as one of only 50 high school performing arts programs in the country to attend the festival.
If you would like to donate to the group’s trip, you can make a check out to Oakland Technical High School: Scotland Trip and send the check c/o Jessa Brie-Berkner to 4351 Broadway, Oakland, California 94611. For more information you can go to the drama program’s website or email firstname.lastname@example.org with the words: Scotland Trip support in the subject line.