Digital program for Hamlet

Digital program for Hamlet

Director’s note.

“Things are never black and white. Things are grey. And grey is a lot more interesting.”

–Steven Rodgers, Screenwriter

A lot of people can be intimidated by Hamlet, especially when they are first introduced to the play. I know I was. But what got me the most was that while I was intrigued by the complex story, I was still plagued by something. Hamlet mourns for his father and that’s all well and good. But the script also is clear that Hamlet Senior caused a great deal of pain in his conquering of Norway. So, I thought, why should I care about him and Hamlet’s quest for revenge? I also realized that Hamlet, while he’s the hero of the story, has also done reprehensible things, though not as bad as his father. So, I had a hard time caring for these characters for quite a while. That’s when the life lesson of this play occurred to me: life isn’t simple, solutions aren’t clear, and we have to wrestle with the fact that our heroes are human beings. And human beings make mistakes, and sometimes commit terrible acts. This in turn made me discover new questions about the play: How does Hamlet feel about his country and his obligations? Does Gertrude deserve to be vilified as much as she is? Is Ophelia wiser than people give her credit for? How can Laertes process the horrific situation he’s thrust in to? What will all this do to Horatio? Does Claudius have a conscience? Fortinbras is no longer someone to worry about… or is she? The more we allow ourselves to discover these questions, the more enriching the play becomes. And that’s why I love it. Therefore, I encourage you to ask questions about it. But at the same time realize you may not get answers. That’s how this play is such a good representation of life itself.

Cast and crew:
Hamlet: Ethan Sloan
Claudius/Ghost: Brian Trybom
Gertrude: Katie Bennett
Ophelia/Fortinbras/Et al: Valerie Asbell
Horatio: Rose Long
Laertes/Player One/Francisco/Et al: Mike Jones
Polonius/Priest/Ambassador: John T. Aney
Rosencrantz/Gravedigger Two/Player Two/Marcella/Captain/Et al: Rosalyn Damlo
Guildenstern/Osric/Barnarda//Player Three/Gravedigger one/Et al: Tess Nakaishi

Director: Valerie Asbell
Assistant Director: Allison Anderson
Stage Manager: Rose Long
Fight Choreographer: Sam Dinkowitz
Military consult: Rose Long
Lighting Designer: Richard Allen
Assistant Lighting Associate: Hans Dassen
Costume Designer: Rose Long
Sound Designer: Valerie Asbell
Light and sound operator: Joey Stramm
Sound effect during mad scene created by Nick Boxwell
Transition music on guitar composed and performed by Valerie Asbell
All other sound effects and music provided by

Cast and crew bios:

Hamlet: Ethan Sloan

Portland acting phenom Ethan Sloan is happy to accept his fate and play the greatest role in all of theatre. His previous Shakespeare experience includes Much Ado and a prior Hamlet, wherein he played Horatio. Outside of The Bard, Ethan has performed in Adroit Maneuvers, where he stole the show as “Nazi #2” or, as his fans dubbed him, “The Handsome Nazi.” He recently completed back-to-back tours, performing Robin Hood (pulling double duty as both the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham and the loveable Friar Tuck) and A Christmas Carol (where he played the Scrooge who isn’t a duck). Good news, agents: he is currently seeking representation. But act fast! This hot commodity won’t be on the market for long. In his own words, “I’ve got the skills, you’ve got the connections, let’s make lots of money.”

Claudius/Ghost: Brian Trybom

Brian Trybom is thrilled to be making his Portland theater debut. He is a graduate of, The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, in New York.  Previously living in San Francisco he worked with; Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Marin Shakespeare Co., Napa Valley Shakespeare Co., San Francisco Shakespeare Co., Boxcar Theater, Thrillpeddlers, The New Conservatory Theater, Central Works, and The Aurora Theater, among others. He wishes to thank Stav, Toni, Penny and the rest of his family for all their love and support.
And a special thank you to Ben Heifetz.

Gertrude: Kathryn Bennett

Kathryn Bennett is an award-winning writer, actor and director. Recently she has appeared in leads on stage in Montetré’s Honestly Political Parody Musical and on screen in the award-winning short film Tomorrow. She is a UC Berkeley graduate with an MFA in acting from the University of South Carolina and has trained with Juilliard teachers.  In her mad youth she acted in New York on daytime television in shows like All My Children and As the World Turns. She also worked at the Tony Award-winning Shakespeare Theatre Company. Don’t miss her stories of encouragement for people in the arts on her blog A BIG LIFE at

Ophelia/Fortinbras/Et al: Valerie Asbell

Valerie is happy to finally be making live theater happen again, not only with her company but elsewhere. Some of her biggest influences are Caryl Churchill, William Shakespeare, Henrik Ibsen, Samuel Beckett and more. Valerie holds a BA in Theater Arts with a Minor in Women’s Studies from Portland State University. Catch her this summer as she plays Don John in Metropolitan Performing Art’s production of Much Ado About Nothing. Her first time playing a villain—she’s pretty stoked! You can also read several of her musings on theater at She wishes to thank the entire cast and crew for their hard work and support, her guitar teacher Tom Sandahl, and her family and friends.

Horatio: Rose Long

Rosalyn “Rose” Long has been participating in theatre since she was 7 years old when her mother was the artistic director for Ferndale Rep in California. When she was in sixth grade he had a dream of taking everything she owned and moving in a dumpy Volkswagen van to NYC in order pursue a career in acting. Instead it seemed like a two-door Ford Escort would do, and Portland is much closer and quieter anyways. She fell in love with tech in high school at the Arcata Arts Institute and hasn’t spent much time on stage since, but she hopes you enjoy this rare opportunity to see her on stage once again.

Laertes/Player One/Francisco/Et al: Mike Jones

Mike is thrilled to be making his Portland theater debut in Hamlet. He would like to thank the cast and crew for all of their hard work and dedication though out the process. Mike would also like to thank his lovely and amazing wife Anna, his awesome daughter Margot, his adorable puppy Eevee and also his cat who can be nice sometimes (Chewie) for their support and hugs.

Polonius/Priest/Ambassador: John T. Aney

John T. Aney is excited to have the chance to play the power behind the throne in this production of Hamlet. A graduate of Lewis and Clark College, John began his semi-professional acting career in Portland as a founding member of Tygre’s Heart Shakespeare Company. His life took him to the Bay Area, where his favorite roles include Guiteau in Assassins (City Lights), Oscar Wilde in Gross Indecency (Dragon/Theater Q), Mitch in Streetcar Named Desire (Bus Barn Stage Company), and Boyet in the Stanford Shakespeare/Public Theatre production of Love’s Labor’s Lost. Most recently, John assayed the role of Claudius in the noted “Lakehouse Hamlet” that was produced by Speculative Drama in Portland in 2019. John is the proud father of two wonderful theatrical daughters, and he dedicates this production to them and to his ever-patient wife, Mary, his North Star.

Rosencrantz/Gravedigger Two/Player Two/Marcella/Captain/Et al: Rosalyn Damlo

Rosalyn Damlo is elated to be coming out of her self-imposed actor retirement for her first production in the Portland area, and this production of Hamlet. Roslayn is originally from Detroit Lakes, MN and has a bachelor’s in Theatre and Communications and master’s degree in Secondary Education. Previously, Rosalyn has performed in productions of Titus Andronicus, Taming of the Shrew, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Young Frankenstein. In other aspects of theatre Rosalyn has previously directed productions of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Judgement at Nuremburg, Eurydice, and Godspell. She also has spent time fight choreographing and doing make-up design. In her limited spare time, She likes to draw, play Dungeons and Dragons, and spend time with her partners. Rosalyn sincerely hopes you find the themes and performances in this show impactful and is excited to share this production with all of you.

Guildenstern/Osric/Barnarda//Player Three/Gravedigger One/Et al: Tess Nakaishi

Tess Nakaishi studied theater with an acting concentration at Western Washington University. Some of her favorite roles include Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Janet in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Aubrey in Leading Ladies. After spending a couple years devoted to improv comedy, Tess is delighted to not have to make up her own lines for this production. When not performing, Tess can be found cuddling her cat, playing D&D, writing, and telling everyone how much she loves dinosaurs. She hopes you enjoy the show!

Assistant Director/et al: Allison Anderson
This is Allison’s third time working with Clever Enough. She previously appeared as an actor in two virtual shows: The Judge’s Wife and What You Need.

Fight Choreographer: Sam Dinkowitz

Sam received his fight training in 2008 from Chris DuVal and U. Jonathan Toppo of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and he began choreographing combat for the Utah Shakespearean Festival in 2010. Recent fight credits include: Appropriate (Profile Theatre), Leading Ladies (Lakewood Theatre), The Children (Artist’s Repertory Theatre), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (The Funhouse Lounge), The Jungle Book (Northwest Children’s Theatre), and Sweat (Profile Theatre). Sam is also the creator of Spectravagasm: Sketch Comedy. Enjoy the show!

Special thanks to the following people and organizations, without whom this show would not have been possible:

The Headwaters Theatre
GSL Properties
Rose Long
Allison Anderson
William Thomas Berk
Ronald Jorgensen
And all of our donors

Don’t forget to check out our cast and crew stipend crowdfunding campaign! For all, our thanks!