Odd Stagings #3: THE CHILDREN’S HAMLET by Joel Sattler
It always bothered me that Hamlet didn’t become King after his father’s death. I couldn’t understand why.
But finally, after many years of thinking about it, I came upon a possible solution:
Hamlet is only 9. Since he is of less than legal age of accession, he cannot succeed.
In this “odd staging”, Hamlet hates his father with a passion, and adores his mother.
He has often dreamt about killing his father, and sometimes imagines that he is guilty of that crime.
Maybe he is.
So he is filled with unresolved shame and foreboding.
The ghost is the apparition of unrequited sexual fear.
Most of the actors are children or adolescents or young adults.
Gertrude [his mother] and Claudius [his uncle, who marries Gertrude] and Polonius are adults.
Ophelia is a young, but fully mature, woman; and Hamlet is sexually inappropriate with her: fondling her at odd moments. She is aroused and ashamed by his attentions, and THAT is what drives her crazy insane. She commits suicide in an hysterical sexual frenzy.
Laertes is a young teenager, older and taller than Hamlet, and is his fencing instructor.
At the end, Gertrude and Hamlet are glad to die.