Review: APT’s 'Hamlet' proves the Bard’s greatest hit still has a lot to say to us

Posted July 4, 2022

Isthmus Review

By Gwendolyn Rice, Isthmus

On opening night of Hamlet at American Players Theatre, there were frequent amused rumbles in the crowd as the audience recognized words and phrases from the play that have become part of our everyday vocabularies.

“What a piece of work is man.”

“Brevity is the soul of wit.”

“Get thee to a nunnery.”

“To the manner born.”

“Neither a borrower, nor a lender be.”

“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”

“To be or not to be.” (Of course.)

And many more. That’s because Shakespeare’s most popular play is part of the zeitgeist, as it has been for the last four centuries. (And according to several pieces of post-apocalyptic fiction, we can be comforted that the Bard’s greatest hit will survive far into the dystopian future.)

When asked earlier this spring why APT chose to produce Hamlet for the sixth time in the theater’s history, artistic director Brenda DeVita said, “It is as great a play as we think it is. I was reminded of that in the read-through. Great plays still have something to say to us. They have remarkable insight into humanity. Hamlet requires embodiment by human beings who can really question what it is to be alive today. That is what this cast brings to the text.”

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