Orlando Shakespeare Theatre will host a reading of the new play Gertrude and Claudius, billed as a prequel to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The play is written by Mark St. Germain, author of the long-running Off-Broadway hit Freud’s Last Session.
OST commissioned the script, which is based on John Updike’s 2000 novel of the same title. The story shows Queen Gertrude’s relationship with Hamlet’s father, who appears only as ghost in the Shakespeare play, and how she conspires with his brother Claudius to commit the murder that sets in motion the events of the classic drama.
A staged reading of the new play will be featured at OST’s annual play festival, PlayFest 2017, November 2-5, and is expected to receive a world premiere in 2019 as part of Orlando Shakespeare Theatre's 30th season, specific dates to be announced.
In announcing the commission, Jim Helsinger, artistic director of OST, said, “Hamlet is Shakespeare’s most famous and popular play, and the idea that we can dive deeper into its legendary cast of characters is really exciting. Updike’s narrative fills out the backstory of the love affair between Gertrude and Claudius perfectly and we could not think of a better playwright to adapt it for us than Mark St. Germain.”
St. Germain’s other plays include Relativity, Camping With Henry and Tom (Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Awards), Forgiving Typhoid Mary (Time Magazine’s “Year’s Ten Best”), Scott and Hem in the Garden of Allah, and Dr. Ruth, All the Way.
For tickets and more information, call (407) 447-1700 ext. 1, visit orlandoshakes.org, or go to the box office of the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center, 812 E. Rollins St. in Orlando, Florida.