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Dark Lady Players Presents HAMLET, 11/7


The Dark Lady Players, the world's only allegorical Shakespeare company, presents Hamlet's Apocalypse, a black comedy showing that Hamlet is a comic parody of the Book of Revelation (the last book of the Christian Bible which predicts the coming of Doomsday). Direction is by Jenny Greeman, whose production of Screenplay won the 'Outstanding Production Award' at the 2010 Midtown International Theater Festival. This production opens on 7 November for three nights at 8pm at Manhattan Theatre Source, 177 MacDougal Street, New York NY 10011. Tickets $18, reservations 866-811-4111.

This allegorical meta-theatrical production by the Dark Lady Players takes place on Doomsday. Against the background of the seven great trumpet blasts in the script, which echo the seven trumpets of the Book of Revelation, all the characters appear as religious parodies. The Anti-Christ (Hamlet) and son of the Devil (King Hamlet) kills Christ (Laertes) and God the Father (Polonius). The Virgin Mary (Ophelia) tries to help by rising into heaven as the Woman Crowned with the Sun, but falls into the water and drowns. Hamlet then kills his own family---from the tribe of Dan(mark), the tribe of the Anti-Christ--namely the Whore of Babylon (Gertrude) and the Seven Headed Beast of the Apocalypse (Claudius) before dying himself. Artistic Director John Hudson is speaking about the production at CUNY/City College, at 3.30 on November 4th at Simon H. Rifkind Center, CUNY, City College of New York, 138 Convent Avenue, New York 10031.

Founded in 2006, The Dark Lady Players perform the underlying allegories in the Shakespearean plays, showing that they are comic religious satires. This raises a profound question about how such parodies could have got into the plays, which leads to the latest authorship theory, that a major author of the plays was the Dark Lady, the Jewish experimental poet Amelia Bassano Lanier.  In response to this finding, the Shakespearean Authorship Trust in the UK in 2007 listed Lanier as one of the leading authorship candidates. In 2009 The Oxfordian, the leading journal on authorship studies, published 'Amelia Bassano Lanier; A New Paradigm' by John Hudson, making her one of the top four likely authorship candidates.
Dramaturgy is by John Hudson, the Artistic Director and Founder of the Dark Lady Players. He has an M.A. in Shakespeare and Theatre from the Shakespeare Institute of the University of Birmingham, the world's leading center for Shakespearean scholarship.  His articles on the Dark Lady Players' productions of Midsummer Night's Dream and of Shakespeare's parodies of the Virgin Mary are published in the Birmingham Journal of Language and Literature.  For this production Hudson has expanded upon original scholarship by Chris Hassel in his article on Ophelia being interrupted by Hamlet as a parody of the Annunciation to Mary, and the book by Linda K. Hoff titled Hamlet's Choice; A Reformation Allegory, which was described in the South Atlantic Review as showing that "standard readings of Hamlet may have missed the mark...its central meaning has....been hidden to intelligent readers for centuries".
The women-only company, the Dark Lady Players, is the only allegorical Shakespeare company anywhere in the world. Cast members Alexandra Cohen-Spiegler (Hamlet), Mimi Hirt (Ophelia) and Lindsay Tanner (Old Hamlet/Laertes) graduated in Shakespearean acting from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). Cast members Bella Poynton (Horatio), Petra Denison (Gertrude) and Megan McGrath (Polonius) graduated in Shakespearean acting from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). Claudius is played by Shykia Fields. Their work has been featured in press articles in Italy, Israel, India, Vietnam, Canada, the UK and on BBC radio and the Jewish Channel.  In summer 2010 Reform Judaism magazine, the world's largest Jewish magazine (circulation 500,000) devoted a six page cover story to their work, titled 'Unmasking Shakespeare' by Michael Posner, the arts journalist for the Globe and Mail.
This production is funded by the Halbreich Foundation, dedicated to supporting social transformation and interfaith understanding. This is their first grant to an arts group and has been made to promote inter-religious dialogue. More detail about the production is available on the Dark Lady Players' website:
For tickets to the show visit:


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