Ursinus to host ‘Hamlet’ as told with puppetry and slapstick

Austin, Texas-based Hidden Room Theater will bring “Der Bestrafte Brudermord,” a German comedy take on Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” that has been translated back into English, to Ursinus College March 25.

Austin Texas’ Hidden Room Theater brings to campus “Der Bestrafte Brudermord,” a new translation of a version of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” The free event is on March 25 at 8 p.m. and is open to the public.

This acclaimed production swept Austin’s various critics’ awards for Best Production of a Comedy and is on a United States and United Kingdom tour.

The mysterious origins of Brudermord (the title translates as “fratricide punished”) are being put to the test in this rarely seen 1710 adaptation of “Hamlet,” performed as it may have been intended: a puppet show.

Acting as a laboratory for Professor Tiffany Stern’s research, the Hidden Room uses a new English translation by Christine Schmidle with puppets created by Mystery Bird Puppet Show and styled and costumed by Jennifer Davis to imagine the staging conditions of a an early-18th Century puppet play. Live music, fireworks and onstage narration accompany this most unusual, and at times outrageously slapstick, version of “Hamlet” that includes added characters and scenes, yet still enjoys a brisk running time of just over an hour.

Brudermord was developed with the support from the American Shakespeare Center. It premiered in October 2013 at the ASC’s prestigious Blackfriars Conference, ahead of a full season in Austin, Texas, from January to February in 2014.

A teaser trailer for the production can be viewed at vimeo.com/84177924.

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