Remembering Hamlets

Quintessence Theatre Hamlet review
Quintessence Theatre’s HAMLET with Josh Carpenter and John Preston. Photo by Shawn May.

Cooped up inside, with no theater in sight, I’m remembering Hamlets I’ve known. I wonder if you, reading this little list, may remember them too.  I like to watch Hamlets, but my children became so annoyed when I went out to see Hamlet, that they called him Pooplet.

Remembering a few Hamlets

“I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.”

Hamlet by Bedlam at McCarter Theatre Center, 2017, upstages tragedy with comedy. http://phindie.com/14306-14306-hamlet-bedlam-theater-company-shakespeares-most-underrated-comedy

Zainab Jah is Wilma’s feisty female Hamlet. Directed by Blanka Zizka in 2015.  phindie.com/7560-7560-hamlet-wilma-theater-review-amazes-while-keeping-distance/

I Horatio was a 2015 FringeNYC production full of irreconcilable differences, witty ideas, noble aims, and absolute nonsense. It was something caught between a frolic and a nightmare with strains of Trent Reznor.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s intellectual Hamlet (National Theatre 2015) can be accessed on Youtube and is available on DVD, as are Kenneth Brannaugh’s unabridged film version and Jude Law’s Donmar Warehouse-to-Broadway stint.

Josh Carpenter handled the lead in Quintessence Theatre Group’s Hamlet. Chris Munden writes that the “edited version takes a bare bodkin to Shakespeare’s story of revenge and existential crisis.”phindie.com/2083-hamlet-quintessence-brevity-is-the-soul-of-it-215  also  curtainup.com/hamletphila13.html 

Geoff Sobelle is Lantern Theatre’s Hamlet in 2009. curtainup.com/hamletphila09.html

Daniel Fish’s Hamlet (McCarter Theatre, Princeton 2005) was a production that should start fist fights.”  curtainup.com/hamletnj.html

Ethan Hawke’s bummed out modern Hamlet with Sam Shepard, Bill Murray, Julia Stiles, and a weird one-second flash of Jeffrey Wright’s gravedigger, is among my faves. Screenplay by Michael Almereyda, Carter Burwell music. (2000).

Post script: Then there’s the unproduced A Travestie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke  script by Bill Mayes 2015. I get $1.50  for adding that note.

9 Replies to “Remembering Hamlets”
  1. Hmmmmm….Hamlet! From my course last year on Shakespeare, I found out that at least 3 previous stories of Hamlet were written before Shakespeare’s masterpiece, so, I guess I’m not surprised that there are all these new variations. Where can we get Bill’s script??????

  2. Thank you for your comment!
    Your Shakespeare course dealing with the previous Hamlet stories must have been really interesting. For those who haven’t had a Shakespeare course, here’s a quick scan: Shakespeare published Hamlet in the 1st Quarto in 1603, having staged it for a number of seasons. In Thomas Nash’s preface to Greene’s Menaphon there’s mention of Hamlet and tragical speeches in 1589. Henslowe’s company performed a version of Hamlet in 1594. Interesting. Henslowe’s Admiral’s Men were not pals with Shakespeare’s Chamberlains’ Men, so which Hamlet was it? It’s conjectured that Thomas Kyd, roustabout with Christopher Marlowe, may have penned a lost Hamlet before 1589. Kyd’s is the mysterious Ur-Hamlet.

    1. Thank you for the info and your comment. Absolutely! It should be here. The Hamlets I listed are older, and I missed out on one right under my nose.
      In February James Ijames wrote and performed a staged reading of FAT HAM for Azuka Theatre at the Proscenium Theatre at the Drake. I do not have a link to the piece, but here’s a link to the event.
      http://www.theatrephiladelphia.org/whats-on-stage/philly-theatre-week-fat-ham-by-james-ijames-a-new-pages-reading

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