ABOUT THE PLAY
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Peter Pasyk
Grade Recommendation 8+
This play explores mature themes including suicide. It depicts violence and murder. It also contains sexual innuendo.
On the battlements of Denmark's Elsinore Castle, the sentries are on edge. Twice now, a spectral figure resembling the recently deceased former king has appeared to them on their nightly watch.
Meanwhile, that king's son, Prince Hamlet, in deep mourning for his father, is disgusted by the speed with which his mother, Gertrude, has remarried - to her late husband's brother, Claudius, who now wears the crown. Hamlet considers this union between his mother and his uncle incestuous, to say nothing of the fact that it has robbed him of his own succession to the throne. That disgust turns to fury when he too encounters the ghost, which reveals to him that his father did not die a natural death but was in fact poisoned by Claudius.
Hamlet vows revenge, deciding to feign madness till he can find both proof of Claudius's guilt and a suitable opportunity to act. Polonius, the Lord Chamberlain, attributes the strangeness of Hamlet's behaviour to frustrated love for his daughter, Ophelia; meanwhile, Claudius has summoned two of Hamlet's fellow students from the university at Wittenberg to spy on him. Matters come to a head when Hamlet commissions a troupe of travelling players to re-enact the murder of his father in front of the whole court, causing the conscience-stricken Claudius to bolt from the room.
After Hamlet kills the eavesdropping Polonius, mistaking him for the King, Claudius dispatches him to England, intending to have him executed there, but Hamlet escapes and returns to Denmark for a final - and fatal - confrontation.
This production takes place in present day, with modern dress.
- Global Competencies:
- Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, Creativity, Learning to Learn/ Self-Awareness
- Grade 8
- The Arts
- Health and Physical Education
- Grade 9-12
- The Arts
- Canadian and World Studies
- Heath and Physical Education
- Grade 11-12
- Social Sciences and Humanities
- Action and Inaction
- Disorder, Uncertainty and Chaos
- Existence, Death and the Afterlife
- Justice and Vengeance
- Love, Lust and Desire
- Madness, Appearance and Reality
- The Meaning of Life
- Power and Politics in Family, Private and Public Lives
- Responsibility as Freedom, Responsibility as a Curse
- The Supernatural