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Vicious or Virtuous?

By William Shakespeare

November 2010

Elements Theatre Company invites its audience to venture to the turbulent courts of the Kings of Denmark and Britain with scenes from Shakespeare’s Hamlet and King Lear, and explore the characters that we either love to love, or love to hate.

In Denmark, the dirt is still soft around King Hamlet’s grave, but Queen Gertrude is quite comfortable in the embrace of the new king, her former brother-in-law and now husband, Claudius, while her son Prince Hamlet seethes for revenge.

In Britain, King Lear decides to take an early retirement from the responsibilities of crown and kingdom, handing the care of his realm on to his daughters, but maintaining all the rights and privileges of the title. Casting off the most beloved of this three daughters, he is suddenly faced with two offspring who are less than doting on dear old dad.

Watch scenes from these two famous plays, and you decide:

  • Hamlet: Reluctant avenger of his father’s murder, or jealous mama’s boy?
  • Queen Gertrude: Vulnerable, grieving widow, or bloody adulteress?
  • King Claudius: Savior of his brother’s struggling realm, or fratricidal usurper?
  • King Lear: Victim of his wretched progeny, or tyrant?
  • Goneril: Ungrateful, murderous brat, or misunderstood, neglected daughter trying to find a life?

“Throughout these scenes, the cast demonstrates a grasp of the fine and fragile line that separates the venal act of one more praiseworthy…”
—The Barnstable Patriot

“Beautifully staged and, even better, magnificently acted…”
—The Cape Cod Times