By Caleen Sinnette Jennings (in association with William Shakespeare).
Cast: 17w. May be doubled to 14w. What are the women of Elsinore Castle doing while Hamlet plots revenge? Elsewhere in Elsinore: The Unseen Women of Hamlet is a play in verse which explores the lives and motives of Ophelia and Gertrude. Shakespeare's Hamlet takes on new dimensions as we meet the other women of Elsinore Castle: the ladies-in-waiting, seamstress, washerwomen, maids, as well as wives and girlfriends of the play's male characters. When Ophelia comes of age she stumbles upon a pagan ritual in the forest. She is shocked to discover the participants are the women who raised her: her nursemaid, cook, parlor maids and washerwomen. They urge Ophelia to heed the ghost of Lady Hilda, Ophelia's mother, who appears with compelling prophecies. Ophelia cannot see her mother's ghost and rejects the women's rituals as witchcraft. When her tutor, Gruen, tells Ophelia her mother's story, she vows to avenge her mother's death. In another part of the castle, Queen Gertrude very much sees the ghost of Lady Hilda and is shaken by her prophecies. She enlists the aid of her ladies-in-waiting (fiancées to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern). The murders of King Hamlet and Polonius force Ophelia and Gertrude to protect themselves from each other and from everyone else, while the peasant women of Elsinore labor hard to keep the castle intact. Ophelia's journey empowers, transforms and enlightens the women of Elsinore. Area staging. Approximate Running Time: 90 minutes.