Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Devon Does Denmark : A Hamlet Comedy

This sounds entertaining. Imagine telling Hamlet from the perspective of the players. As a comedy.

The focus is on a ragtag band of actors from Devon, England, playing the hinterlands. They're far afield in Denmark, where they happen upon Hamlet, brooding over the murder of his father. Hamlet hires the troupe to stage a play for the king depicting a similar situation, hoping to catch the king's reaction as proof that he's the culprit.

But this is not Shakespeare's "Hamlet." Here, the title character is a vain wimp who complains about being cold and berates his bumbling guards. Other characters are hilariously altered as well: King Claudius is an imperious twit with a speech impediment. Queen Gertrude is a martini-swilling "cougar." And Ophelia is birdbrained klutz. In this version, the players overhear that Claudius plans to kill Hamlet. They scramble to thwart the plot and to save their own skins.

The article doesn't say whether they keep the bloodbath at the end, or if they change it for the sake of comedy. I'd be curious.

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