The Caltech Playreaders

2020-2021: The 70th Season

All of our readings will be held at 7:30 pm

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

7:30 pm PDT

Women Playing Hamlet by William Missouri Downs

Directed by Ann K Lindsey

More information about this event will be posted at a later date and its exact format will be subject to the ongoing COVID-19 situtation. The plays performed on each date are subject to change, please check back here for more information as each performance date approaches.

When Jessica is cast as Hamlet in a New York production, she goes into a desperate existential tailspin. How can a woman play Hamlet? Psychiatrists, acting coaches, academics, and Starbucks baristas with MFAs all try to enlighten her. Even Patrick Stewart weighs in. Like Hamlet, Jessica is a thoughtful protagonist who sets out against a sea of troubles. But how can she figure out "to be or not to be" when she can't even figure out herself? Oh the parallels abound in Downs' witty fast paced satire that explores questions of courage and conscience and manages to both spoof and pay homage to Shakespeare: "We are but passengers at a baggage claim, desperate to spot that bit of colored ribbon that separates us from the crowd. And as the look-a-like luggage turns round and round we can only hope that this insubstantial pageant on a minor globe near a short-lived sun has a kind author and a noble end. And that we, before we shuffle off this mortal coil, we'll spy that bit of ribbon that tells us we've found our self."

Women Playing Hamlet is presented by special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc., New York