The Tragedy of Hamlet, Chic-speare Production Company, at Ebenezer Lutheran Church. Director Ann James sets Shakespeare’s Danish play at the end of the 19th century–a choice that makes quite a bit of sense. In particular it allows Jonathan Pereira as Hamlet to play with the attitudes of aestheticism: he wears his thick, dark hair in a Wildean bob, and his elegant, tapered fingers seem to have a flighty and poetic life of their own during his more fevered declamations. The choice doesn’t carry him through the play’s darkest passages, but it does allow for an intriguing if not wholly supported exploration of whether Hamlet is serious about avenging his father’s death or just playing, a bored undergraduate in love with the romantic posture of vengeance.

Horatio is a bespectacled lady intellectual, played by Alexis Gladd, and that choice works wonders at fleshing out the subterranean tensions in the character’s relationship with Hamlet. “Give me that friend who is not passion’s slave,” says the prince, but Gladd’s repressed anguish makes it clear that being passion’s slave sounds pretty good to her. As Ophelia, Jennifer Willison acquits herself nicely in the mad scene, and casting an Asian woman suggests the awful price of Western imperialism, to be paid later in the 20th century.

Kristine Roof’s costumes, rich with period detail, are some of the best I’ve seen recently in a small-budget show.