COLORADO PUBLIC RADIO: Should The Prince Be A Woman Or A Man? In This Hamlet, That Is The Question
William Shakespeare is still ruffling feathers, and making news, these days. A production of “Julius Caesar” in New York City’s Central Park sparked controversy after the director decided to portray the title role as a egocentric populist who looked a lot like President Trump.
Here out west, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival‘s recent interpretation of “Hamlet,” in which a woman plays the prince of Denmark, has some questioning whether a female Hamlet can work.
Westword’s Julie Wittman, who appeared to be on the fence in an article about the play, writes: “What do you do with the actual words? Change all the ‘he’s’ to ‘she’s’? Or ‘Good night, sweet princess: And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest’? It sounds beyond wrong.”
Hadley Kamminga-Peck, who served as dramaturg for the festival’s “Hamlet,” tells Colorado Matters it absolutely can work. Women have been performing the role of “Hamlet” in professional, public theaters since the 1700s and the beauty of Shakespeare’s plays, Kamminga-Peck says, is that they are open to interpretation.
“Four hundred years later, I don’t want to see [his plays] done the same way every time and I don’t want to do them the same way every time,” Kamminga-Peck says. “If we don’t continue to explore, then why are we still doing them?