“Hamlet” at Baldwin Wallace College
“To see or not to see, that is the question”… or something like that, anyway. Regardless, the answer is a resounding to see! Hamlet, Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy, and one of the world’s most quoted and most translated works of literature, is coming to Baldwin-Wallace College this April.
Hamlet is the prince of Denmark, and he is having one hell of a bad day. His uncle Claudius has murdered his father, the king; his girlfriend Ophelia has gone mad; and his mother Gertrude, the queen, has married his uncle… the very same uncle who murdered his father! Although this might sound like an old episode of One Life to Live or All My Children, this twisted “soap opera” is much, much older. After all, Shakespeare lived during the Elizabethan Age and many of his plays were performed before the Virgin Queen, herself.
Hamlet is believed to have been written between 1599 and 1601. The play was first published in 1603 and first performed in either 1602 or 1607 (depending upon the source). Even today, more than 400 years later, it continues to thrill theatre audiences across the globe. In the words of Hamlet’s director, Adam Heffernan: “The play has endured and captivated audiences for centuries not only for its universal themes, but because it is incredible storytelling. It’s part detective drama, part romance, part swashbuckling adventure and part witty comedy. It’s almost as if Shakespeare wrote a play of his greatest hits.” And indeed, Hamlet is one of Shakespeare’s, and the British Empire’s, greatest hits.
William Shakespeare remains the most published author in world literature. And his plays remain the most performed. In addition to Hamlet, Shakespeare’s most well known tragedies consist of Romeo and Juliet (1595), Julius Caesar (1599), Othello (1603-04), King Lear (1605-06), and Macbeth (1606). Among his most celebrated comedies are The Taming of the Shrew (1590-91), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1595), The Merry Wives of Windsor (1597-98), and Much Ado About Nothing (1598-99). Shakespeare’s histories, romances, collection of sonnets, and other poems complete his massive oeuvre. (Note that the dates above refer to the supposed writing of the plays, not the publication date.)
Hamlet runs April 18-28 in the John Patrick Theatre. All performances will begin at 7:30pm, except the April 22nd Sunday matinée at 2pm. The John Patrick Theatre is located in the Kleist Center for Art and Drama, 95 East Bagley Road on the Baldwin-Wallace campus in Berea, Ohio.
Also in April, the 80th Annual Bach Festival, a premier Northeast Ohio event, runs April 13-15. And don’t forget all of the great orchestral and choral concerts, presented by the Conservatory of Music, many of which are free to the public. A complete calendar of events can be found at www.bw.edu/news/calendars.
- Christopher S. Musselman