HAMLET, by William Shakespeare, is the single play that encompasses the central questions of existence that applies to all humans. The play examines the conflict between private versus public duty and the individual’s obligation to the self and the State. It is rooted in classical principles of examining the essential questions – Who Am I? Why Do I Exist? What Must I Do?
What makes HAMLET unique is that it highlights how in today’s world everyone is Hamlet. The audience’s experience of the production will be entirely from Hamlet’s Point of View: we present only the scenes that the character Hamlet observes and/or participates in. Within the scenes presented interior cuts have been made to streamline the action and focus the events of the play on Hamlet’s journey.
Aside from the universality of human emotion, the story of Hamlet is compelling in itself. Who can resist a play with eight violent deaths, a ghost, adultery, incest, a mad woman and a fight in a grave? Perhaps what keeps Hamlet fresh and exciting is that these questions remain for each audience: why does Hamlet not immediately avenge his father’s murder? Is it the weight of the conscience ‘that doth make cowards of us all?’ What keeps us from acting on our most base and most immediate impulses - is it social convention or personal morality - or simply the fear of punishment? What keeps us alive when all forces point towards giving up and submitting to death—that ‘undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns?’ Is Hamlet a hero? Perhaps - but the ambiguity of his heroic nature is what keeps him so fascinating.
HAMLET will go on being made and re-made by every new generation of theatre-makers, and the melancholy Dane will, in all probability, continue to be seen as one of the ultimate acting challenges, while the play continues to delight, frustrate, confuse and amuse.