Elsinore On The Potomac

FORTINBRAS by Lee Blessing

The most influential play in English, Hamlet, is generally taken to show the failure of the Man of Thought. It ends with the arrival of the alternative ideal: Fortinbras, conquering prince of Norway, a decisive Man of Action. Lee Blessing's fascinating new play begins literally where Hamlet ends and asks whether Fortinbras proves any better a leader.

Much else is on Blessing's mind in this weirdly comic piece: Shakespeare's shaky dramaturgy (rescued by friendly pirates, indeed!), the meaning of death and the afterlife, the ubiquitous enigma of TV. The play lampoons official cover-ups: by the time Hamlet's...

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