Hamlet 2002

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Directed by Mark von Eschen, Set and Lighting Design by Stephen Wade, Costume Design by Beverley Kobelsky

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Castle guards see an apparition two nights in a row and ask Horatio, a scholar and friend of Hamlet, to come and verify the occurrences.  It is the ghost of the former king who has returned from the grave to ask his son Hamlet to seek revenge for him.  His brother, Claudius, has poisoned him, married the Queen and usurped the throne.  Hamlet will feign madness to uncover the truth and determine whether the ghost is his father or a demon from hell.  Meanwhile Ophelia, Hamlet’s girlfriend, is warned by her brother Laertes, and commanded by her father Polonius, not to see Hamlet; he is a prince and out of her sphere.  This breaks her heart and Hamlet’s.  Polonius suggests that Hamlet’s madness is caused by Ophelia’s rejection of his love and he and the King spy on them.  The King and Queen summon Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to determine what is wrong with Hamlet and “lead him on to pleasures.”  A group of players arrive at the castle and Hamlet asks if they will perform a play to determine the King’s innocence or guilt.

After the uproar caused by the play, Hamlet visits his mother in her private room and mistakenly stabs Polonius, who is there to spy.  His death causes Ophelia’s breakdown, leading to her death and Laertes’ return home to demand his revenge.  Unaware of Claudius’s guilt, Laertes accepts his council and uses a poisoned sward in a duelling competition with Hamlet.

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