July 20 through August 7
Tuesday through Sunday at 8:00 PM
Prince Hamlet of Denmark is urged by his father’s Ghost to avenge his murder at the hands of the dead king’s brother, now King Claudius; to make matters worse, Claudius has married the widow, Hamlet’s mother, Queen Gertrude. In the meantime, while investigating his father’s murder, Hamlet feigns madness with his family and friends, including his beloved, Ophelia, sister to Laertes and daughter to Polonius. Both Polonius and Laertes warn Ophelia against Hamlet’s amorous advances. Polonius believes Hamlet’s “madness” to be love sickness. Laertes is given permission to return to his studies in Paris. Claudius directs Gertrude to try to learn the cause of Hamlet’s odd behavior; they suspect it is the old king’s death and their own recent marriage. Meantime, Claudius and Polonius eavesdrop on Ophelia and Hamlet, who spurns her and appears mad. The King reveals to Polonius his plan to send Hamlet to England with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Hamlet seizes the opportunity presented by a traveling troupe of players to expose the King’s guilt with a “play within a play.” Soon after, Hamlet takes an opportunity to kill Claudius, but because the King is at prayer, Hamlet fears he will be sent to heaven instead of hell, and does not carry out the act. When Gertrude meets with Hamlet as Claudius has directed, Polonius hides behind the tapestry in Gertrude’s room to eavesdrop on the conversation. Hamlet, suspecting the interloper is Claudius, stabs and kills Polonius.
When Polonius’s body is discovered, Claudius summons Hamlet and tells him he must sail to England for his own safety; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern accompany Hamlet, carrying letters to the English, threatening war unless they kill Hamlet. Hamlet eventually escapes, returns to Denmark, and is met by Horatio.
Ophelia has gone insane after Hamlet’s departure and her father’s death. Laertes returns and vows to avenge Polonius’s death. Claudius contrives a fencing match between Hamlet and Laertes, during which Hamlet is to be injured with a poisoned sword tip, and also poisoned with a drink as a back-up plan, thus assuring his death. When news arrives that Ophelia has drowned herself, Laertes is grief stricken. Hamlet and Horatio happen upon the burial site and funeral cortege; Hamlet tries to fight Laertes but is restrained.
Hamlet tells Horatio that he rewrote the papers carried by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and that the letters now call for their own deaths. A courtier, Osric, invites Hamlet to the duel with Laertes; Claudius has supposedly bet on Hamlet to win. At the duel, Gertrude mistakenly drinks from the cup poisoned by Claudius for Hamlet and dies; Laertes wounds Hamlet with the poisoned sword, and then Hamlet wounds Laertes when they accidentally exchange swords. When Laertes reveals the conspiracy, Hamlet wounds the King and forces the poisoned drink upon him. Laertes and Hamlet reconcile, and Laertes dies. Horatio wishes to kill himself and die alongside his friend, but Hamlet prevents Horatio from drinking the poison so that he can live to tell the truth.
Paul Romero in “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged”
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Thank you to everybody who came to see The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)!
“Wonderful performance last night! Our whole family enjoyed it very much! The kids are asking to see it again and our 3 year old said ‘That was awesome!’.”
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