Jenny Ballard: Actress portraying Hamlet for Shakespeare on the Square

Jenny Ballard: Actress portraying Hamlet for Shakespeare on the Square

Photo by Jennifer Osborn, Jennifer Osborn

Jenny Ballard: Actress portraying Hamlet for Shakespeare on the Square

Jenny Ballard: Actress portraying Hamlet for Shakespeare on the Square

Photo by Jennifer Osborn

Jenny Ballard: Actress portraying Hamlet for Shakespeare on the Square

Is it so much different to play a guy than it is to play any other character that’s not yourself?

Yes. Hamlet is heartbroken from page 1 to the last page. I know how a woman would be heartbroken, but I had to figure it out for a man.

What’s the difference?

Answering this could get me into so much trouble if I generalize. Let me say that I, as a woman, when I have been heartbroken, I have wanted to talk about it with people, and to work through it in a calm and rational manner—and to lean on my friends. Whereas in my experience, men who are heartbroken tend to isolate themselves, push away the people who are trying to help, and they feel very angry.

Did you audition to play Hamlet, or was it the director’s idea?

Tom Parkhill was thinking about using a woman, and I auditioned for the lead on hearing that information.

Anyone make funny remarks?

Well of course there’s the constant “girl on girl” kiss, and how that’s a selling point. Casey Smith, who’s playing Ophelia, is a friend of mine.

Do either of your significant others object to the kiss?

If they do, they’re crazy! Any stage kiss is a stage kiss. It’s not real.

Have you played a male before?

I haven’t, no. All the boy roles I’ve ever played we changed the character to a girl. Now, boy roles are all I want to play. For real. We get to fight with swords. It’s so fun. Seriously, I’m not sure that anyone is going to believe I am a man, because I am a small female. But I think they will believe me as Hamlet. To them, it will be a play about a person.

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