50-Minute Hamlet poster

Two-hander Abridged ‘Hamlet’

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A four-hour play with more than two dozen characters tackled by two actors in 50 minutes. That’s the setup for Jeff Christian’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s great revenge tragedy, Hamlet, in which Christopher Prentice and Gail Rastorfer will play “two mighty opposites.”

In actuality, Chris will essay Hamlet and Gail will corral the rest of the dramatis personae with little more than a golf bag of swords, a few props, and a boom box.

This distillation features all the most notable scenes and soliloquies (well, almost all — sorry “How all occasions…”) and comes in under an hour and doesn’t even require an intermission.

50-Minute Hamlet is an educational outreach production for the Shakespeare Project of Chicago that tours schools and is also slated to play several public performances.

Upcoming Performances

  • Sun., Feb. 7, 2pm – Ela Area Public Library, 275 Mohawk Trail, Lake Zurich, IL
  • Mon. Feb. 8, 7pm – LaGrange Park Public Library, 555 N. LaGrange Road, LaGrange Park, IL
  • Sun. Feb. 21, 2pm – Morton Grove Public Library, 6140 Lincoln Ave., Morton Grove, IL

Gail Rastorfer has worked with the Shakespeare Project for well over a decade and been involved with over a dozen classical performances with the company. She has ‘played’ with big Chicago theaters such as Chicago Shakespeare Theater to small storefronts such as American Blues, as well as regional theaters all over the country. Currently, she is working on an intriguing one-woman show about Mary Jane Kelly with the newly acclaimed SoloChicago.

Chris returns to Hamlet, one of his favorite roles, after last playing him for Signal Ensemble Theatre*’s production in 2007. He also performed excerpts for a concert suite by Alfred Reed with the Edge of Texas Concert Band in his native El Paso, Texas.

For more information, or to book a showing, visit www.shakespeareprojectchicago.org/index.php/education/.


*Signal, co-founded in 2002 by Chris, Ronan Marra and Joseph Stearns (following a production of Hamlet in which they appeared, actually), is currently presenting its final production, The Consultant by Heidi Schreck. It runs through Feb. 20. Visit signalensemble.com for info. And then buy Chris a whiskey to drown his sorrows.

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