Co-directors of HVMLET, Tatiana Baccari and Wednesday Derrico are both Brooklyn-based theater artists and frequent collaborators through their feminist theater collective, Experimental Bitch Presents.
HVMLET is an intersectional feminist adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet premiering this July at the SheNYC Summer Theater Festival in the Connelly Theater. Set in the 21st century, HVMLET uses Shakespeare’s original text to tell the story of two factions of feminism splintered by generational divides.
Our Hamlet comes home from college—where she studied intersectional feminism—to find her father dead. Claudia, a stone-butch lesbian and Hamlet’s aunt, seduces Gertrude, topples the patriarchy, and steals the throne with her bra-burning feminist followers. With the help of Horatio, her genderqueer best friend, Hamlet embarks on a quest to prove Claudia’s guilt and avenge her father’s murder. Hamlet becomes unhinged as she battles the waves of pressure from her royal family against questions of her own identity, sexuality and feminism. With tension between the queer millennials and second wave lesbians building, and a country rife with internal violence, what will become of Hamlet and Denmark’s new feminist ruling class?
We chose to adapt Hamlet, in particular, because it depicts a personal response to a political crisis. This adaptation is an exciting opportunity to bring our observations and questions about our current political climate into our theatrical work. In the world of HVMLET, we play out our fever-dream scenario: what happens when the feminist movement has the opportunity to ascend the ruling patriarchy? Will we be able to unite and lead a matriarchal feminist government? This is the lens through which HVMLET operates.