July 28 – September 1, 2017
Thursdays – Sundays at 7:00pm
“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”
With the death of his father, and the hasty marriage of his Mother and Uncle, Hamlet’s torment knows no bounds. When his father’s ghost reveals his own brother murdered him to take his place on the throne and in his bed, Hamlet seeks to avenge his father’s death. But is the voice from beyond telling the truth, or a figment of Hamlet’s tormented mind? When things aren’t as they appear, who can you trust?
Silicon Valley Shakespeare’s all-women cast takes on the beautiful language of one of Shakespeare’s most famous works, as they journey into the mind of Hamlet and face the ghosts that haunt him.
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Angie Higgins
Rating: PG for Parental Guidance – This play is a drama that includes swordplay and some adult themes, which some parents might find questionable.
Prince Hamlet of Denmark is home from college to attend this father’s funeral. In an unforeseen turn of events, it also turns out to be his mother’s wedding. Hamlet’s mother Gertrude has married Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle and new king of Denmark. Shocked at the haste and impropriety of the match, Hamlet falls into a deep depression. It is momentarily broken by the arrival of Horatio, Hamlet’s schoolmate from Wittenburg, also there to attend the funeral. After a brief greeting, Horatio imparts an incredible tale to Hamlet: while on the watch with two of the palace guards, a ghost-like figure resembling Hamlet’s father appeared to them, but disappeared at daybreak. Intrigued, Hamlet agrees to attend the watch that night to see if the apparition returns.
That night, the guards return with Hamlet and Horatio and true to their word, the ghost appears. It beckons Hamlet away from the other two and contrary to their warnings, Hamlet follows. The ghost speaks to Hamlet and related the story of his death: he was murdered, and by Hamlet’s uncle Claudius, the new king. Hamlet is instructed to revenge his father’s death, and with the breaking of the dawn, the ghost disappears.
Hamlet decides to follow the ghost’s instructions, but first, to be sure that the ghost isn’t a demon set on damning him, he decides to do a little detective work to make sure his uncle is guilty. He decides to go around acting insane, hoping to find out more information. He confronts Ophelia, daughter of Polonius, the king’s counsel, who has set her up to encounter him to determine the cause of his strangeness. He and the king hide nearby to overhear their conference. She pities and loves him, but Hamlet begins to suspect that she is her father’s pawn. He asks her where her father is and out of filial duty, she lies. Hamlet is heartbroken by her answer and rejects her completely. Later, Hamlet sets a group of visiting players on the task, having them present a play that tells the story of his father’s murder. He has Horatio watch Claudius during the entire performance and when the murder happens, Claudius starts in fear and guilt and calls of the entire play, departing in a frenzy. Hamlet and Horatio see this as a clear sign of Claudius’ guilt and make plans to carry out revenge.
Claudius, in his guilt, kneels down to pray for forgiveness. Hamlet comes upon him and is about to strike him down, but reasons that since Claudius is praying, his death would send him to heaven. Wanting him to go to hell where he believes he belongs, Hamlet stays his hand. Upon his exit, Claudius rises and declares that his prayers aren’t real and begins to make plans to destroy Hamlet before Hamlet can destroy him.
Hamlet visits his mother’s room at her request. Polonius again has set up the whole encounter and is hiding behind an arras to hear the entire event. Gertrude endeavors to talk to her son, but he treats her roughly, disdaining her for her marriage to Claudius. He becomes threatening and in her fear, she calls for help. Polonius begins to yell, and Hamlet, believing him to be Claudius, stabs him through the arras, killing him. Gertrude is horrified, and Hamlet continues to berate her until the appearance of the ghost again causes him to stop. The ghost instructs him not to forget that his errand is with Claudius, not with Gertrude. Upon the ghost’s disappearance, Hamlet attempts to comfort his mother, and assures her that even though he might ACT mad, he is NOT mad. He drags Polonius’ body out of the room and disposes of it.
Ophelia, rejected by Hamlet and not able to cope with the sorrow of her father’s death, goes insane and begins haunting the castle singing love songs and giving flowers to courtiers. The king and queen witness her and have her watched. In the meantime, Ophelia’s brother Laertes, hearing of his father’s death, returns to Denmark asking for revenge. Claudius, spying his chance, begins to manipulate Laertes, thinking he can use him for his own plans to kill Hamlet. Ophelia, interrupts their conversation, however, and Laertes grief puts the plans on hold for the time being.
Claudius and Laertes’ plan a duel of ‘honor’ between Hamlet and Laertes, where Laertes can satisfy his righteous indignation without any harm coming to Hamlet. They also plan that one of the dueling foils will be unbated, that is lacking the protective tip that an honor duel would have, leaving the foil able to harm. They plan to poison the tip of the sword, but just in case Laertes is unable to hit Hamlet, Claudius plans to poison a pearl and place it in a cup of wine so that when Hamlet is thirsty and drinks, he will die. Their plans are interrupted by Gertrude who report that Ophelia has drowned.
The duel is set up and agreed to by Hamlet, against the advice of Horatio, who feels that something is wrong with the whole event. Claudius and Laertes set their plan in motion, but are foiled first by Gertrude who drinks the poisoned wine toasting her son, and secondly when Laertes grows impatient and cuts Hamlet outside the bounds of the duel. Hamlet, realizing that they are using an unbated sword, wrestles it away from Laertes and stabs him in earnest. The queen falls and in her dying breath is able to tell Hamlet the drink is poisoned. Laertes, in his death is able to accuse the king of being the instigator of all. Hamlet runs Claudius through and pours the poisoned wine down his throat, fulfilling his revenge at last, leaving only Horatio behind to tell the story.
Lighting Intern /
Intern – Scenic Build
Assistant Stage Manager
Doll has been with Silicon Valley Shakespeare since its first production, appearing as Feste in Twelfth Night. Since then you may have seen her as Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, Lady M in Macbeth, the Chorus in Henry V, or most recently as Antonia in The Tempest at SJSU. Doll has a BA in English from USCB and a Masters from SJSU where she emphasized Renaissance Drama.
Technical Internship Advisor
In his third year with SVS, Louis is supporting the growing internship program and building sets. When not working with his friends at SVS, he runs The Audacity Performing Arts Project (providing performing arts programs/opportunities in the community’s poorest schools) and serves as Tech Director at Notre Dame High School in San José. Louis is an SJSU graduate in Religious Studies and loves Disneyland, lunch, naps, bad jokes, NASCAR, old-school punk rock and, most of all, his family.
Hair and Makeup Design
Returning for her ninth season, Melissa’s SVS hats include makeup designer, actor, and Education Program Director. Since receiving her BA in Theatre (SJSU), she’s moonlighted as a makeup designer/artist for SVS, Pixar, Disney Channel UK, West Bay Opera, Opera San José, and more. Favorite SVS acting roles include Dromio of Syracuse (Comedy of Errors, 2015), Emilia (Othello), Oswald (King Lear), Hero (Much Ado), Phoebe (AYLI), and Ariel (Tempest, 2007). In a previous life, she also “daylighted” as a children’s theatre teacher/director.
How long is the performance?
The show runs… (coming soon)
Hamlet — Rated PG for Parental Guidance
This play is a drama that includes swordplay and some adult themes, which some parents might find questionable. Parents who are curious about the content of this play can read a version that’s very similar to our script here.
About the Family Rating System
Silicon Valley Shakespeare makes theatrical classics enjoyable and accessible to as wide an audience as possible. Families love to attend our plays, and we’re proud to introduce thousands of young people to the Bard.
To assist parents and guardians in assessing which of our plays are right for their children, our Family Rating System features a general rating for each production followed by a more nuanced recommendation and description of the play’s content.
Our assessment can’t fit every family, so we also provide a link to the actual text of our plays whenever possible so that parents can make their own decision. Our ratings are:
E (Everyone) — Suitable for all ages.
PG (Parental Guidance) — Appropriate for most audiences under 13, but we recommend that parents inform themselves about the content of the play and its themes, and exercise their best judgment for their individual child.
T (Teen) — Might be inappropriate for audiences under 13. Parents of younger children are welcome to attend with their children, but we recommend that they prepare for questions their children might have about some of the more sophisticated and mature content and themes of the play, and its particular presentation.
M (Mature) — Not recommended for audiences under 17.
About very young children: Infants and toddlers are always welcome at our outdoor performances. We’re thrilled to offer newer parents an opportunity to enjoy live theatre! We ask that at least one parent or guardian be prepared to take a break with these tiny theatergoers out of earshot of the theatre space, if they become upset or very vocal.
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