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Hamlet, but Hamlet's a Chicken

By Grand Island Theatre

Created by Grand Island Theatre

It’s a production of Hamlet, but Hamlet is played by a chicken. “Like a person in a chicken suit?” No, an actual chicken. “’s Hamlet, but Hamlet’s a chicken?” Yes.
The creators say this show is appropriate for ages 16 and up
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A Note from the Creators

“Everyone has been seized by an indefinable intoxication. The small cabaret is about to come apart at the seams and is going to be a playground for crazy emotions.” - Hugo Ball, Dada artist, 1916

"Hamlet, but Hamlet's a Chicken" is a production of "Hamlet", but Hamlet is played by a chicken; we just graduated from college; and, we decided to follow the gleeful spirit of the surreal. It's going to be weird, but it's okay - we don't know what any of it means either. 


A Note from the Dramaturg

"Hamlet, but Hamlet’s a Chicken" in its title alone provokes the audience to question.  “You mean like, someone in a chicken suit?” “Wait, like, a real chicken?” “But why?” 

As hundreds of years hurtle by and Western audiences continue to crave Shakespeare, we respond: “Why not?” We see ourselves as existing in a world that slams itself between elated celebration of humanity and severe lack of equity across cultures, class, and borders. Facing all of this, we question why we continually cling to these models - be they power structures in society or the tradition of the grand Bard on stage. 

In the early 20th century, artists in Zurich came together and created art in a shocking form that came to be known as Dada. While Dada can be seen as a unraveling of language, a blurring of cultures, and a conglomerate aesthetic assault upon an audience, we look to Adrian Notz, director of Cabaret Voltaire (birthplace of Dada) for a succinct answer to why we were so captivated by exploring how this practice could untangle Shakespeare in our untangling world: “Dada isn’t a style in the manner of, say, Cubism, with a readily recognisable aesthetic. Rather, it’s an attitude; I like to say that Dada is questioning things, going in between things.”

While Shakespeare holds a certain power, the evidence is raw that our understanding of his work is full of cracks. Romeo and Juliet on rollerskates is just as effective as, well, I’ll let you fill in the blank with current politics. Thus, why not take this hailed, but broken model, twist ourselves into its cracks, and seek to better understand the rotten state of things, ourselves, and the stage? 

Tate Sheppard

For more on Dada see: 

"Dada Manifesto" by Tristan Tzara

"Dada and Cafe Voltaire" (Youtube)


Grand Island Theatre is a collaborative theatre ensemble based in Minneapolis. This is Grand Island Theatre’s second production. They previously produced and created What You Will at the 2017 Minnesota Fringe Festival. The core members met at the University of Minnesota while pursuing BAs in Theatre Arts - Performance Creation. For more information and to check out what they’re about or like them on Facebook.
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