Event Type: On Stage, Drama
Prince of Denmark
As performed by the crew aboard The Red Dragon off the east coast of South Africa, 1608.
Written by William Shakespeare
Adapted by Fred Abrahamse and Marcel Meyer
"Moving and magical" - Channel 24
"World-class Shakespeare" - The Announcer
After playing to 5 star reviews and standing ovations in Europe, Pieter Toerien proudly presents a limited season of Abrahamse & Meyer`s internationally acclaimed HAMLET in Cape Town and Johannesburg before the production heads off for a tour of the USA.
The production takes its inspiration from one of the earliest recorded performances of Hamlet, which took place during Shakespeare`s life-time.
In 1608 off the east coast of South Africa, the crew of the East India Company merchant ship, the Red Dragon, performed Hamlet aboard the vessel while at anchor. In his log of 31 March 1608, Captain Keeling noted: "I invited Captain Hawkins to a fish dinner and had Hamlet acted aboard me; which I permit to keep my people from idleness and unlawful games, or sleep."
This production re-imagines Shakespeare`s most iconic play within the context of the historic performance aboard the Red Dragon, as a play within a play within a play, utilizing a cast of only 6 actors playing 6 Jacobean sailors who, in turn, play all the parts in Shakespeare`s Hamlet.
"From the amazing pool of water surrounding the `ship` to a very real, looming spectre, the company creates a multi-sensory experience that takes an already very visceral and important classical play and imbues it with wonder and awe enough for a contemporary audience enthused City Press journalist Binwe Adebayo when the production premiered at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 2015.
The production stars Marcel Meyer in the title role, with veteran Shakespearean actor Michael Richard taking the role of King Claudius. Dean Balie doubles as Polonius and Horatio with Jeremy Richard as Laertes, Matthew Baldwin as Ophelia and Callum Tilbury in the role of Queen Gertrude.
In 2011 respected theatre-critic Christina Kennedy wrote of Abrahamse & Meyer Productions: "It is sometimes debated - often among young people - what relevance Shakespeare has to South Africa in the here and now. This is why passionate young thespians, such as Fred Abrahamse and Marcel Meyer, who are hell-bent of making Shakespeare daring, modern, exciting and topical, deserve some sort of special award. Abrahamse and his brave young cast should be applauded for bringing a new, synapse-firing incarnation of a well-known text to local audiences.`
This event is taking place at more than one venue. Please select the venue you would like to book for.
Venues and performances
Theatre On The Bay, Cape Town - Western Cape
Pieter Toerien Main Theatre, Johannesburg And Reef - Gauteng