Credit: Credit: Albemarle County Public Schools

Hamlet in 43 Seconds

This Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, November 16-18, residents of Albemarle County will be able to experience a world record—on the theater stage in Western Albemarle High School. That’s when a performance of Hamlet will span all of 43 seconds—the shortest running time ever for one of the world’s greatest classics.

It’s all part of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), this year’s fall production by drama students at Western Albemarle High School. Proceeds from the shows will help to finance a trip next spring to New York’s Broadway, where students will participate in theater workshops to hone their acting skills.

“This was a natural selection for us,” says Caitlin Pitts, Western’s drama director, of this fall’s play. “The relevance of Shakespeare’s commentaries is timeless. His use of irony and humor to make important points about human behavior really appealed to our students, and you will be able to see that in their enthusiasm and energy on stage,” she added.

All 37 of Shakespeare’s comedies, histories and tragedies are visited in 90 minutes in this week’s evening performances. In the words of the entertainment trade publication, Daily Variety, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) has been described as “a madcap condensation that features non-stop laughs. Done at a whirlwind pace and with great delight … there is no doubt that William Shakespeare himself … would approve.”

Performances on all three evenings this week begin at 7:30. Tickets are available at the door and are $8 for adults and $5 for students and children.

When this show debuted in England, it went on to be the longest running comedy on the London stage,” Pitts said. “Our students love its modern take on Shakespeare and the opportunity it gives them to display their comedic talents. Audiences will love the joy our very talented performers bring to the stage this week. A review from a few years ago from the Today Show sums up how I think our audience will feel: ‘If you like Shakespeare, you’ll love this show. If you hate Shakespeare, you’ll love this show,’” she said.