About This Clip
Forget Hamlet / Ophelia’s Window
Ophelia’s Window was performed in 2020 in Baghdad, Iraq and directed by Monadhil Daood, who previously directed “Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad” and performed in other Shakespeare-derived Arabic plays including Sulayman Al-Bassam’s “Al-Hamlet Summit” (as Polonius) and “Richard III” (as Catesby).
Exiled Iraqi playwright and director Jawad al-Assadi wrote and originally staged the play Ophelia’s Window in 1994 in Cairo, Egypt. The play (loosely allegorizing Saddam Hussein as Claudius) was later published as Forget Hamlet in 2000; this is its first performance inside Iraq. Margaret Litvin, Associate Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at Boston University, has translated the play into English.
Ophelia watches Claudius murder the king and inaugurate a reign of terror unopposed by passive Hamlet. Claudius orders blind dissident Laertes tortured and liquidated; silences Gertrude; tries to seduce Ophelia; and sends two goons to assassinate Hamlet. A pair of gravediggers provides sarcastic commentary throughout.
This synopsis was excerpted from the table “Five Arab Hamlet Offshoot Plays (1976-2002)” on page 199 in this article:
Litvin, Margaret. “When the Villain Steals the Show: The Character of Claudius in Post-1975 Arab(Ic) ‘Hamlet’ Adaptations.” Journal of Arabic Literature, vol. 38, no. 2, 2007, pp. 196–219. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/25597944. Accessed 23 Mar. 2021.
English script (translated by Margaret Litvin) which includes her introduction about the playwright Jawad al-Assadi
A collection of reviews (in Arabic) of the 2020 performance of Ophelia’s Window