SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame is making Shakespeare woke with what the university is calling “Hamlet 50/50” and The 50/50 Shakespeare Project. “Hamlet 50/50” mutilates the iconic play by giving male lines to female characters in an attempt to bring “equity” to Shakespeare. And, it’s all playing out at the annual Notre Dame Shakespeare festival starting next week.
According to a Q&A posted on Notre Dame’s Website, “Nothing’s wrong with the text, per se – there’s a good reason it’s a classic play. But here’s the thing: in the original play, only about 8% of the lines of dialogue are assigned to female-identifying characters. If you’re committed to creating more balanced and equitable productions for theatre, then choosing this text immediately puts you at a disadvantage. The 50/50 approach seeks to bring more equality into the workplace of Shakespeare, further upstream than it ever has been before.”
The woke adaptation was written by Vanessa Morosco and Peter Simon Hilton who, according to Notre Dame, “spent years working in the corporate sector in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), nationally and internationally. They’ve created drama-based training to facilitate training for DEI, sexual harassment, and cultural differences for huge multinational companies. This is where both of those lanes come together – the workplace of Shakespeare is where all of these experiences converge.”
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