The New Hamlet

Listen / Download

To adapt or not to adapt Hamlet — that is the question. Director Michael Almareyda may have just answered the question with his hi-tech 21st century remake.

Ethan Hawke’s Hamlet is an uptown slacker who loves hanging out with his funky East-village Ophelia. Bill Murray is hanger-on Polonius. Kyle MacLachlan is King Claudius, CEO of the Denmark Corporation. The court of Elsinore has become a city of luxurious penthouses, lush corporate offices and sleek limousines.

This Hamlet is a meditation on a world flooded with images, media, surveillance cameras and listening devices. Technology haunts Hamlet; Manhattan alienates him. There have been at least 43 silver-screen Hamlets, one for every generation and then some. The story is familiar, the dilemma is timeless. The play’s the thing.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Marjorie Garber, Professor of English at Harvard University.