June 20th – July 14th Directed by Saul Elkin
No play of Shakespeare is more familiar to modern audiences and students.
King Hamlet of Denmark has died –supposedly of a snake bite while sleeping in his orchard. His wife, Gertrude, marries his brother, Claudius, within weeks. Prince Hamlet, his son, has returned from school for the funeral, the wedding of his mother and coronation of his uncle. Hamlet is visited by the ghost of his father who tells him that Claudius murdered him by pouring poison in his ear while he slept. The Ghost wants his son to avenge his death, but not to harm his mother (“Leave her to heaven”). Hamlet is torn between wanting to obey his father and his fear of committing a murder, after all, the Ghost could be the Devil in disguise. He feels abandoned by Ophelia, the young woman he has loved, betrayed by his friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and contemplates suicide (“To be or not to be.”). With the help of his one true friend, Horatio, he asks a troupe of visiting actors to reenact the murder of his father, hoping that Claudius’ will help him determine if what the Ghost told him was true (“The play’s the thing wherein I‘ll catch the conscience of the king’). The play goes on, Claudius reacts, and Hamlet is convinced of his guilt. In the meantime Hamlet has accidentally killed Polonius (Father of Ophelia and his friend Laertes). Ophelia in despair over the death of her father has accidentally (maybe) drowned herself. Claudius, who now realizes that Hamlet is on to him, enlists Laertes in a fencing match with Hamlet. Laertes has poisoned the tip of his sword, and Claudius has also prepared a cup of poisoned wine should Hamlet ask for a drink. During the competition the Queen toasts Hamlet with the poisoned wine before Claudius can stop her, Hamlet is scratched by Laertes poisoned sword-tip, the swords fall to the ground and gets switched and Hamlet picks up Laertes sword and gives him a fatal cut. As he dies, Laertes confesses the plot with Claudius. Hamlet forces Claudius to drink the poisoned wine and as Hamlet dies he leaves the kingdom to Fortinbras, Prince of Norway. Gertrude is dead, Claudius is dead, Laertes is dead and Hamlet dies in the arms of his friend Horatio (“Goodnight sweet prince and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest”).
Parking for Shakespeare in Delaware Park is on street parking along Lincoln Parkway.