Speed's Reeves Ready For His Shift To Hamlet
by Kevin Prokosh
Movie star Keanu Reeves arrives in Winnipeg Dec. 8 for an almost two month stint in the city to play Shakespeare's Hamlet. Reeves will fly in from Los Angeles with Toronto's Lewis Baumander, the director of the Winnipeg Theatre Centre production, and settle in before beginning formal rehearsals Dec 12. The pair are in the middle of their third week of one on one rehearsals in L.A. Since Reeves has to carry the production (he is in every scene) he will rehearse a total of six weeks compared with the standard three weeks for the rest of the 22 member cast.
The Beirut born, Toronto raised performer is already "off-book", stage talk for knowing all his lines, says artistic director Steven Schipper, who recently met Reeves in the City of Angels. On Dec. 9 Reeves will give the local media one hour of his time for interviews. Reporters from the city's four television outlets and two daily newspapers, including the Free Press, will be granted 10 minutes each to chat with the star of the hot summer flick "Speed". His manager has turned down all other requests for interviews from national and international media. The hour was all the time Schipper could wrestle from Reeves who loathes talking to the media. The Hamlet cast will rehearse from Dec 12 until Christmas eve when the production takes a three day holiday.
The much hyped show opens on the MTC mainstage Jan. 12 and runs until Feb4. MTC season subscribers have until Friday to buy the approximately 6,000 Hamlet tickets still available. This Saturday, the left over tickets, if any, go on sale to the general public. Hamlet will also star actress Liisa Repo-Martell, who played a hooker named Faith in the 1992 Clint Eastwood film hit "Unforgiven". Repo-Martell will play Ophelia. Local performers in the csat include Gene Pyrz, Wayne Nicklas, Richard Hurst, Lora Schroeder, Derek Aasland, Dan Deurbrouk, and Neal Rempel.