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2014 News Releases

American Shakespeare Center to present free performance of Hamlet at Longwood Sept. 16

August 26, 2014

Patrick Earl as Hamlet, 2014/15. Photo by Michael Bailey
Patrick Earl as Hamlet, 2014/15. Photo by Michael Bailey

The American Shakespeare Center (ASC) will present a free performance of Hamlet in Longwood University’s Jarman Auditorium on Tuesday, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m.

The performance by the internationally acclaimed theatre company is being presented jointly by Longwood’s Department of English and Modern Languages and Hampden-Sydney College.

Tickets are required only for K-12 school groups [who should email smithrd@longwood.edu for reservations]. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Shakespeare’s longest play, Hamlet has been performed more than any other play in the world and more has been written about it than any other literary work. In honor of the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, London’s Globe Theatre, associated with the playwright, began a two-year tour April 23 in which it hopes to perform the play in every nation in the world.

"Hamlet is part of the revenge tragedy genre that was as popular in Elizabethan England as zombie films are today," said Dr. Shawn Smith, a Longwood English professor who is a Shakespeare expert. "In these plays, acts of revenge are dramatized throughout the play until nearly everyone is dead at the end, but Shakespeare disrupts the pattern because in Hamlet the revenge hero can’t bring himself to commit revenge.

"It’s a huge, sprawling play full of questions, many of which are never resolved. It’s about difficult relations between children and parents, the struggles of growing up, and loss, death, revenge, love and the frustrations involved in being unable to act."

The mission of the ASC, founded in 1988 and based in Staunton, is to "recover the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare’s theatre, language and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education."