What it is: the known works of W.S., reconstructed, line by line, into a new tragedy, starring Hamlet, Juliet & Romeo, Iago, Macbeth, The Queen, Three Weird Sisters, Rosencrantz & Guidenstern, and the Ghost of the King.
The story: Hamlet goes to war for Juliet, the daughter of King Lear. Having captured his bride—by unnecessary bloodshed—Prince Hamlet returns home to find that his mother has murdered his father and married Macbeth. Hamlet, wounded and reeling, is sought out by the ghost of his murdered further, and commanded to seek revenge. Iago, opportunistic, further inflames the enraged Prince, persuading him that Juliet is having an affair with Romeo; the Prince goes mad with jealousy.
The issues engendered: War, parody, the question of what is authorship, sex and exploitation, the current Shakespeare fracas, the long history of Shakespeare adaptations, Shakespeare and Hollywood, the Public Domain, the literary canon, the state of contemporary letters in relation to “great” works, the creative future we bequeath our children.
SCENES FOR ACTORS
The endnotes are organized by act and line number, as keyed to the Penguin/Plume edition. They reference the provenance of each line, notable meter, and scene locations.
There are currently four quarto versions, cut for the stage. Lengths (at 10,000 words per hour):
5,000 words: selection
8,000 words: selection
14,400 words: Quarto 3
17,400 words: Quarto 1 (10,000 words shorter than the Penguin/Plume edition).
Connect, for information regarding Quartos, rights, or performance history.