Hamlet at Theatre on the Bay

Marcel Meyer as Hamlet.

Picture: Fiona MacPherson

This production takes its inspiration from one of the earliest recorded performances of Hamlet during Shakespeare’s lifetime. In 1608, off the East Coast of South Africa, the crew of the East India Ship, Red Dragon performed Hamlet aboard their ship. In his log, on March 31 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.”

The production at Theatre on the Bay re-imagines Shakespeare’s most iconic play within the context of the historic 1608 performance aboard The Red Dragon as a play within a play, using a cast of only six actors playing six Jacobean sailors who, in turn, play all the parts in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

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.

Hamlet is directed by Fred Abrahamse who has, over a 35 year career, directed over 150 productions in all genres, including classical theatre, opera, musical theatre and contemporary plays.

On Wednesday April 12, Theatre on the Bay’s first ever Cape Talk talk-back panel discussion will take place immediately after the first performance of Hamlet.

This will give attending patrons an opportunity to engage with a panel of Shakespeareans and gain insights into the play. The panel will be chaired by Cape Talk presenter John Maytham who trained as an actor and has been working in radio for more than 20 years.

He will be joined by Abrahamse, Meyer, Richard and
Dr Derrick Higginbotham who lectures at the UCT English Department.

Tickets cost from R100 to R180. Book at Computicket. For group and school bookings, email mike@theatreonthebay.co.za or call 021 438 3301.