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Production description

2004 expanded Arabic version; script and photos published in a bilingual text (University of Hertfordshire Press, 2006).  Expands on the 2002 English-language version, adding scenographic changes such as the “empty space”  (grave site at center stage) and new scenes including the “Horse of War” skit.  Arabic-speaking cast members come from Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Kuwait.

Production website and reviews at Sulayman Al-Bassam Theatre (SABAB).

Produced in London and at festivals in Tokyo, Seoul, Tehran, etc.  Recorded at the Tokyo International Arts Festival (2004).

Author and director: Sulayman Al-Bassam (Kuwaiti/British)


A crumbling Arab dictatorship (a collage of real states) convenes a government conference amid car bombs in the capital, rebellion in the south, and an international army massed on the borders. English-speaking Arms Dealer (Nigel Barratt) sells to all, including Claudius, Fortinbras, Gertrude, the Islamist Hamlet, and the suicide bomber Ophelia.

Essays written by Margaret Litvin:

Shakespeare in the Arab World: Introduction

“Explosive Signifiers: Sulayman Al-Bassam’s Post-9/11 Odyssey,” Shakespeare Yearbook 20, Shakespeare After 9/11: How a Social Trauma Reshapes Interpretation (2011), 103-35.  (A revised version, updated for the most recent play, is forthcoming in Shakespeare and the Ethics of Appropriation, Alexander Huang and Elizabeth Rivlin, eds., Palgrave.)

“When the Villian Steals the Show: The Character of Claudius In Post-1975 Arab (Ic) Hamlet Adaptations”

Sulayman Al-Bassam in the Arab Shakespeare Tradition” – Essay commissioned by the Asia Society and BAM for the “Muslim Voices: Arts & Ideas” festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music, June 2009

Essays written by Graham Holderness:

Sulayman Al-Bassam’s The Al-Hamlet Summit: Introduction

Arabesque: Shakespeare and Globalisation

Arab Shakespeare


Student email dialogue with Sulayman Al-Bassam


Comments (2):

  1. Dr. Varda Fish says:

    A very powerful production. I am working on a research paper on contemporary Arabic drama and will be most grateful if you could mail me the bi-lingual text of Al-Hamlet Summit. I hope this is possible.
    Thank you very much, Varda Fish

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    The Al-Hamlet Summit

    Al-Bassam, Sulayman | Productions
    Sulayman Al-Bassam Theatre (SABAB)
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