The Al-Hamlet Summit is a loose adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet and a remarkable piece of twenty-first century theatre set in the cauldron of Middle-Eastern discontent.
Having gained control of a modern Arab state, a ruthless dictator attempts a westernised experiment in thrall to arms dealers and propped up by U.S. dollars. Yet a catastrophic war is brewing, he is besieged by enemy neighbours from without and a growing Islamic extremism from within, whilst his predecessor's son, Hamlet, is plotting revenge.
Al-Bassam's Summit is Hamlet boldly re-imagined as pure, deadly politics.
This edition includes an introduction by Professor Graham Holderness and is illustrated throughout with performance stills from Al-Bassam's internationally award-winning 2004 production of the play.
Sulayman Al-Bassam was born in Kuwait in 1972. Other works include The Mirror for Princes, an imaginative exploration of the current war in Iraq as seen from the viewpoint of an eighth century Abbasid scribe (premiered at the Barbican in spring 2006) and an adaptation in Arabic of Richard III (which premieres in 2007 as part of The R.S.C.'s Complete Works Festival in Stratford-on-Avon). He divides his time between Kuwait and London. Professor Graham Holderness is author of numerous critical studies in Renaissance and modern theatre.
Published August 2006; 176pp; paperback
“Al-Bassam's astonishing text ... takes the story of Hamlet and reworks it in a rich new poetic version ... the results are electrifying” The Scotsman
“A superbly constructed dramatisation of a society's descent into fundamentalism and chaos” Sunday Herald
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