‘Hamlet’ for all ages features local actress


Staff Writer

Some directors might be apprehensive about tackling a production of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” that has youngsters in the main roles, but Ricky Selterman is not one of them.

Selterman, a veteran actor from Manalapan, believes his cast of young adults can pull off “Hamlet” for all ages when it is staged at the Center Playhouse, South Street in Freehold. The play, featuring actors from Middlesex and Monmouth counties, will be performed on Saturdays, March 11, 18 and 25, and on Sundays, March 12, 19, and 26, at 3 p.m. For ticket information call (732) 462- 9093.

Calling William Shakespeare “the greatest writer to ever live,” Selterman said he wanted to bring the community something unexpected.

While “Hamlet” performed by a cast ranging in age from 11-17 might seem a bit of a stretch, Selterman believes the play empowers young adults and pushes them further than they think they can go.

The play, which incorporates murder, suicide, treachery and revenge, among other things, according to Selterman, will be performed with the director acting as narrator.

Bernice-Garfield-Szita, president of Center Players, said Selterman adapted the play and narrates portions of it so the audience can understand the plot’s twists and turns.

Garfield-Szita said the adaptation has been crafted to draw on the most exciting parts of “Hamlet” while omitting certain themes such as the Oedipal complex.

“We believe this play will be satisfying for multi-generational audiences from 7 to 70,” she said.

Selterman said “Hamlet,” which was written more than 400 years ago, contains the same elements that drive people in today’s society. He said Shakespeare’s work is timeless.

Selterman said the production is a collaborative effort among the cast, the crew and himself. He said he had seven weeks of collaboration with the cast members as they gave input into the production.

“Young people tinkering with Shakespeare” is what Selterman called the meetings, which he said were held to see how the cast members could improve on the adaptation.

Selterman even enlisted the help of a student director to help provide some insight into the play through the eyes of a young adult. Nicole Selterman, 11, the director’s actress daughter, said she took the position to help out her dad and to provide input about the play from a youngster’s perspective.

Other actors such as Tara DeCaro, 17, of Sayreville, know their lines well. In fact, Tara recently performed the same role as the Queen in Sayreville War Memorial High School’s production of “Hamlet.”

Harry Block, 14, of Marlboro, has taken the roles of Player King/Rosencrantz. Harry attends the Freehold Regional High School District’s Fine and Performing Arts Center at Howell High School. He has appeared in community theater and in productions at Temple Shalom, Aberdeen.

Cory Bolotsky, 14, of Manalapan, plays the grave digger. He has been a member of the Marlboro Players for more than five years. Cory is planning to become a lawyer or a television anchorman, or maybe both.

The youngsters’ enthusiasm is

apparent, their talent a given. All of the young adults in this production say they are ready to take on the challenge of the classic.