Posts Tagged: Hamlet

Folger Finds: Photographs of Hamlet in Japan

In a recent post on the Folger’s Collation blog, assistant curator Elizabeth DeBold shared a small set of photographs, newly added to the Folger collection, that document a 1933 Japanese production of Hamlet: These five photos provide a glimpse of a production of Hamlet performed at the Tsukiji Shogekijo, the “Tsukiji Little Theater,” aptly named… Continue Reading »


Not of an age: The history behind Ian McKellen’s Hamlet

In June, Ian McKellen will take the stage as the title character in Hamlet at the Theatre Royal Windsor. McKellen is no stranger to the role: he played Hamlet in Prospect Theatre Company’s touring production a half century ago. It may seem surprising to find an octogenarian—McKellen turns 82 this month—playing the part of the… Continue Reading »


Excerpt: ‘Shakespeare and Lost Plays’ by David McInnis

When it comes to the theatrical landscape of Shakespeare’s London, there are the plays whose names we are familiar with — plays like Hamlet and Henry V — and then there are the plays that were being performed around the same time and that Shakespeare’s audiences would have known well, but that are lost to us today. Read an excerpt from a new book about these plays.


And so they play their parts: Double-casting Shakespeare’s plays

Double-casting is a theater technique (as opposed to a literary one) that creates a meta-narrative, transforming a large-cast play into a present-tense adventure. Actors swapping costumes and changing roles (and sometimes genders) becomes part of the thrilling ride, and theater’s fundamental artifice becomes its strength. Theater’s very artificiality becomes a feature, not a bug. Shakespeare utilized this trick to both amplify subtext and heighten the drama.



Losing the name of action: Hamlet reconsidered

During this global pandemic, when the whole world is quarantined to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Hamlet seems like a character perfectly suited to our present moment. He’s also stuck at home, unable to return to school, despondent after suffering great loss, and so distraught by governmental change and the behavior of family… Continue Reading »


The madness of Hamlet and King Lear: When psychiatrists used Shakespeare to argue legal definitions of insanity in the courtroom

Well-known Shakespeare characters such as King Lear and Hamlet suffer (or appear to suffer) from madness — and early American psychiatrists took note. Observations drawn from literature began to bleed into courtroom testimony regarding insanity pleas. “From the mid-1840s through about the mid-1860s in the United States, during the first generation of American psychiatry, no… Continue Reading »