When the plague steals 11-year-old Hamnet from his loving parents, Agnes and William, they must each confront their loss alone. And yet, out of the greatest suffering, something of extraordinary wonder is born. This hotly anticipated new play based on Maggie O’Farrell’s best-selling novel, adapted by award-winning playwright Lolita Chakrabarti and directed by Royal Shakespeare Company Acting Artistic Director Erica Whyman, transfers directly from Stratford-upon-Avon to London’s Garrick Theatre for 14 weeks only from 30 September 2023.
Monday – 19:30
Tuesday – 19:30
Wednesday – 19:30
Thursday – 19:30
Friday – 19:30
Saturday 14:30 19:30
Garrick Theatre, London
30 Sep 2023 – 6 Jan 2024
Hamnet is a novel by Maggie O’Farrell published in 2020, which explores the life of Shakespeare’s son who died at the age of eleven. The book takes us on a journey through the lives of the Shakespeare family, focusing mainly on the life of Hamnet, who is rarely mentioned in history or literature. The book is both a historical account and a work of fiction that blends together seamlessly to give us a vivid and moving portrait of a family in crisis.
The book is set in the sixteenth century in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, where William Shakespeare and his family reside. Hamnet, the son of Shakespeare and his wife Anne Hathaway, is portrayed as a curious and sensitive child with a natural talent for storytelling. The book tells the story of Hamnet’s short life, his relationship with his family, and how his death profoundly affects his parents.
Maggie O’Farrell’s writing style is captivating and immersive. Her ability to create a vivid and sensory world makes the reader feel like they are right there with the characters. The book is written in the present tense, which gives a sense of immediacy to the story, and the narrative is split between the perspectives of Hamnet, his mother Anne, and his father William.
The book explores themes of grief, loss, love, and family relationships. The death of Hamnet has a profound effect on his family, particularly his mother, who struggles to come to terms with her son’s death. O’Farrell beautifully captures the grief and pain felt by the family, as well as the nuances of their relationships with each other. The book also explores the relationship between Hamnet and his father, who is absent from his son’s life for long periods due to his work as a playwright in London.
One of the most striking aspects of the book is its portrayal of women’s lives in the sixteenth century. Anne Hathaway, who is often overshadowed by her famous husband, is given a voice in this book, and her life is explored in detail. O’Farrell shows the challenges faced by women during this time, such as the lack of agency and control over their lives and the societal expectations placed upon them.
Hamnet is a powerful and moving book that explores the complexities of family relationships and the profound impact that grief and loss can have on our lives. The book is both historically accurate and a work of fiction, and O’Farrell’s writing style is both captivating and immersive. The novel gives a voice to a forgotten member of the Shakespeare family and sheds light on the lives of women in the sixteenth century. It is a must-read for anyone interested in Shakespearean literature or historical fiction.