UNC students tackle first quarto Hamlet
The University of North Carolina Charlotte’s Theater Department will take on Shakespeare’s Q1 Hamlet next month. The production, part of the “36 in 6” project and the final year of “Shakespeare in Action,” will be directed by James Vesce. Professor Andrew Hartley, Robinson Distinguished Professor of Shakespeare, will serve as the dramaturge. This version of Hamlet will take place in a “contemporary dystopian world in which Hamlet and his friends are wealthy college students.”
The “36 in 6” project includes lectures and productions to cover all of Shakespeare’s plays leading up to the four hundredth anniversary of the playwright’s death. According to the UNC Charlotte website, Shakespeare in Action seeks to “advance the study and enjoyment of Renaissance/Early Modern drama and culture, particularly through performance, on campus and in the broader Charlotte community. SIA brings in guest speakers for lectures and colloquia; integrates live performance into campus learning;provides student scholarships and sponsors special classes, including a summer program in England.”
Much shorter than the Hamlet commonly known, the Q1 version is dramatically and structurally tighter. Some text and characters’ names are different. Polonius, for example, is called Corambis, and the famous “To be” soliloquy appears in a different scene and has different words from those often memorized by acting students. – UNC Charlotte website
Performances will begin on November 4 and run through November 15. November 5 and 12 will include post-show talk backs. A pre-show program will take place on November 13.