Buy Tickets From the 2012-2013 Season: Fortinbras A Comedy by Lee Blessing Playing June 29, 2013 to July 14, 2013

A Suzi Recommended Show!

Additional $15 General Admission Performance Monday July 8

Three Weeks Only!

Paul Hester

Join us as we continue our exploration of all angles and perspectives of Hamlet. In Lee Blessing’s cheeky off-beat comedy Fortinbras (named as one of Time Magazine’s best plays of 1991), the action starts where Hamlet stopped. The oddly chipper Norwegian Prince Fortinbras swoops in to Denmark to find himself in charge of a nation, but with the PR nightmare of having to explain all the deaths at Elsinore. Finding Horatio's account of the murders implausible, Fortinbras decides to make up the truth, much to the ire of the recently dispatched ghosts roaming the corridors, who want the true tale told.

With contemporary dialog reminiscent of a Daily Show opening monologue, Fortinbras gives us the chance to laugh at just how ridiculous life, truth, authority and leadership really are.

Where we suffered and wailed at the consequences of Shakespeare's tragedy, we can laugh at what follows in its aftermath.

(While the Bardometer is mostly correct for this play, Fortinbras contains sexual innuendo/scenarios. No nudity, but maybe leave the kids at home.)

Join the cast and crew members for a lively Question and Answer session on Sunday July 7 after the show!

FORTINBRAS is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.

Read the Plot Synopsis

Fortinbras Synopsis
(from Google Books/Samuel French, Inc.)

Young Fortinbras, a modern man of action, enters during the last scene of Hamlet only to order the bodies of the royal family shuffled off while he devises the best possible media blitz to legitimize his ascension to the throne of Denmark. Horatio, sworn to the dead Hamlet to convey the truth of his actions, is immediately cast by Fortinbras into the role of an unwilling public relations person. Meanwhile, Fortinbras is forced to balance a disastrous and mistaken invasion of Poland with a seductive and harrowing array of ghosts, ranging from a vampish Ophelia to a repentant Claudius and Gertrude, all of whom cast doubts in his mind as to what really makes up the character of a ruler. Finally, Horatio, driven to madness by the refusal of everyone to believe in him, assassinates Fortinbras and then kills himself. In the afterworld, all of the characters reconvene, wiser now by their deaths and ready to make a new go of it in Elsinore.

Director's Notes

Directed by Artistic Director Jeff Watkins

Show Information


Act One - 50 min / Act Two - 55 min

Show Roles

June 29-July 14, 2013

Fortinbras - Paul Hester*
Horatio - Matt Felten
Osric - Matt Nitchie
Hamlet - Jonathan Horne
Claudius - Troy Willis*
Gertrude - Laura Cole
Polonius - J. Tony Brown*
Ophelia - Kelly Criss
Laertes - Chris Rushing
Marcellus - Vinnie Mascola
Barnardo - Clarke Weigle
First Maiden - Dani Herd
Second Maiden - Kristin Storla
English Ambassador - Vinnie Mascola
Captain - Nicholas Faircloth
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States

Show Times
Shows at The Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse begin at 7:30pm, except on Sundays, when they begin at 6:30pm

Bardometer Rating

How difficult is this Shakespearean play to grasp? On a scale of 1 to 10.
What does rating this mean?

You may already know the story and what happens at the end. But even if you don’t, the play is light and the plot is easy to follow. Limited violence, limited bawdiness (see below). There are very few things – historical, religious, or political – that you need to know ahead of time. Just enjoy!

A note about bawdiness in Shakespeare: It exists. Despite what your English teacher taught you, Shakespeare wrote some pretty saucy lines and they pop up from time to time. While there is never any nudity on stage, our actors are trained to make the text clear. If we feel a show contains a plethora of Graphic Elizabethan Poetry (or is very bloody/violent/triggering) we will put that disclaimer in the blurb about the show. It won’t happen often. If this Bardometer lists a play as a 1 or 2, you can rest assured that it is an appropriate show for kids under ten.

Additional Information

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