Stage Door News

Toronto: "Prince Hamlet" directed by Ravi Jain returns to Toronto February 6-24

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

One of the most thrilling and original adaptations of Shakespeare’s Hamlet ever performed returns to Toronto. Canadian Stage presents Ravi Jain’s critically acclaimed Prince Hamlet at the Berkeley Street Theatre, February 6-24, 2019.

Award-wining director, Ravi Jain's daring and diverse Prince Hamlet breaks through the old restrictions on gender, race and ability, allowing Shakespeare’s work to be told, seen and heard in a bold new way.

The plot for Hamlet remains the same. Struggling with the death of his father the king and his mother’s hastyre-marriage to his uncle -- and murderer of the king -- Hamlet undertakes the harrowing task of avenging hisfather’s untimely death. What changes in Prince Hamlet is the cross-cultural, gender-bent cast that challenges conventional ideas of who gets to tell this story of revenge. This imaginative and radically inclusive production also combines English and American Sign Language (ASL) to create a fully integrated retelling for both hearing and Deaf audiences.

Another element that makes this Hamlet so unique is its twist on gender. Prince Hamlet features a femalelead cast with Christine Horne as Hamlet (Dora Mavor Moore Award Nomination for OutstandingPerformance) and Saskatchewan-born deaf artist and Toronto Theatre Critics Award-winner, Dawn Jani Birleyas Horatio – who becomes the central character and acts as the narrator using ASL and gestures.

A first for Toronto theatre, Birley’s use of ASL and gestures challenge the hearing audiences to understand Horatio’s signing and expressions, adding a sensational component to this completely original take on the world’s most famous play.

“We could not be more honored to welcome Why Not Theatre with this magnificent and important retellingof one of the Western canon’s most significant works,” says Canadian Stage Artistic Director Brendan Healy.“Ravi Jain and his group of collaborators have created a smart, clear, and thrilling interpretation of the playwhile dislodging some of the aspects that have kept it inaccessible to many. Prince Hamlet is essentialtheatre for today’s world.”

Embarking on a national tour to Banff, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Toronto, Prince Hamlet is a must see for Toronto audiences.

Prince Hamlet is on stage at the Berkeley Street Theatre from February 6-24. Performances run Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 8 PM; Fridays at 7 PM; Saturdays at 2 and 8 PM; and Sundays at 2 PM.

Performances on February 13 and 20 are at 1 and 8 PM.

Photo: Chritsine Horne as Hamlet. © 2017 Dahlia Katz.