Hamlet | July 18 – August 17

by William Shakespeare
directed by Dawn McAndrews

sponsored by Elaine & George Keyes

In the wake of his father’s abrupt death, Hamlet returns home to find his personal and political world turned upside down—his mother remarried, his uncle on the throne, and a world seemingly gone insane. When his father’s ghost appears and demands vengeance, the desperate Danish prince must decide: submit or resist. Accept or avenge. Live or die.

Schedule
Thursday, July 18, 7:30 p.m. (Preview)
Friday, July 19, 7:30 p.m. (Opening)
Saturday, July 27, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 28, 7:00 p.m. (Post-Show Discussion)
Friday, August 2, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 4, 1:00 p.m.
Thursday, August 8, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, August 13, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, August 14, 1:00 p.m.
Saturday, August 17, 1:00 p.m.
Production Team & Cast (coming soon)

From the Director

Everyone who has read the play, seen a film version, listened to a recording in English class, attended a live performance, or brought the play to life themselves, will have a vastly different point of entry into the rotten world of Hamlet’s Denmark. Whether four hours (deadly to a modern audience) or 90 minutes (appalling to the Bardofiles) this is a play about an idealistic young man who leaves the sheltered confines of academia to attend his father’s funeral, only to find his world in upheaval. He discovers the searing pain of his father’s death, the unwanted recognition of his mother’s sexuality, and endures the betrayal of almost all who were once close to him.

Most of all, he becomes aware of the corruption in the world he thought he knew, the sickness of the once healthy “family” he cherished, and the pretense and emptiness of those who surround him. This “knowledge” drives him to consider suicide. Hamlet searches for a reason to be, literally and metaphorically, and discovers the type of loneliness that comes from looking into the abyss.

Our Mad Men-influenced production takes place in Chicago in 1958. Setting “Elsinore” amidst the corporate hierarchy and gender politics of the time supports the Bard’s driving focus on the dynamics of interpersonal relationships and the tenuous power of the “state.” The world is loosely inspired by John H. Johnson who started his publishing company in Chicago with Negro Digest in 1942, and quickly expanded the roster with Ebony, Jet, and other publications, building a successful business around African American concerns and culture. Although Hamlet might be a terrible CEO, a bad boyfriend, and a sullen and spoiled son, he is also a young man who yearns to do what is right, to live up to the dictates of his father, and remain true to his ever-emerging sense of self.

In Hamlet Shakespeare explores the profound questions that we all wrestle with throughout our lives: Who am I? What must I do? How must I act? The answers we invent for ourselves litter the road to our maturity. In the end, with nowhere to turn for guidance and no one to trust, Hamlet looks to the universe for answers only to be met with the solitary truth as he dies that “the rest is silence.”