Hamlet has played an important role in the history of Shakespearean performance at BJU. It was first performed in 1932 at the original campus in College Point, Florida. The production was so well received that the Classic Players took it on tour to several cities in Florida and Alabama. In 1933 Hamlet was the inaugural Classic Players production in Cleveland, Tennessee, the institution’s second home, where both players and play received a warm welcome.
Our Hamlet is focused on the essential moral truth at the heart of the play: the violation of one’s conscience will bring the justice of divine retribution. We follow the journey of a young man of integrity who is transformed into a “scourge” of God when he violates his own conscience in rashly killing an “unseen good old man.” Additionally, we follow the reverse journey of a murderous king who unintentionally reveals a blackened, guilty conscience before the eyes of his court. But in the case of Hamlet, Shakespeare also suggests the positive truth that Providence can enable a person to repent and correct his course, turn away from evil, and even become the instrument of its defeat.
A modern audience may not easily identify with the plight of a Danish prince called on by a tortured ghost to kill a villainous king. However, we can all relate to the human drama of a moral person faced with the ultimate question of his personal responsibility to right the wrongs in the society around him. We all must face the question, “What is the right thing to do about evil?” Viewed in this way, we see in Hamlet a mirror image of our own temptations and frailties.
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