‘Hamlet Redux’ comes to NIU

By Sarah Contreras

To be or not to be a five-hour long play? That is the question “Hamlet” asks.

This week, the School of Theatre and Dance answers that question with a production of “Hamlet Redux” –a two-hour staging of William Shakespeare’s classic tale of murder and deception. It is the fifth production of the 2012-2013 Studio series.

“Hamlet Redux” whittles down the tragedy of Hamlet to the most essential plot points and cast. While remaining true to the story of young Prince Hamlet’s descent into grief and madness, “Hamlet Redux” does away with side storylines and reduces the usual cast of 34 to 12. Most of the cast will be performing multiple roles.

The play is set in 1940s Denmark. During this era, Denmark infamously existed with a collaborative government following German occupation in 1940 through 1943.

Unlike in many other occupied countries, very few Danish institutions were interrupted during this time of protectorate government. Danish ideals were made to go hand-in-hand with Nazi ideals, with propaganda serving as a powerful tool over Danish citizens.

“It is a military nation where everyone is quite paranoid and controlled by the government with propaganda,” stage manager TC Fair said in a news release,

Director Stanton Davis draws connections between the World War II era and Hamlet’s own world.

“To me, it is a very political world where it is very dangerous for people,” Davis said. “I don’t see anyone as a bad guy. It’s a tragedy for everyone.”

The setting and focused plotlines will bring the personal tragedies present in “Hamlet” to the forefront. Hamlet’s inner war–struggling with love, jealousy and grief–is mirrored in Denmark’s own struggle to remain it’s own country under astonishing pressure.

Thus, Shakespeare’s complex story is made stronger and more relatable than ever.


“Hamlet Redux”  will run Wednesday to Sunday in the Stevens Building Corner Theater. Tickets are $6 and are available through the theater Box Office.