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Program Note for Hamlet's Apocalypse

Program Note for Hamlet's Apocalypse

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Published by JOHN HUDSON
This PROGRAM NOTE provides an overview of the Book of Revelation and explains how the play Hamlet parodies its structure of sevens, its characters, and its depiction of Doomsday at the end of the Age. The Dark Lady Players' production of Hamlet's Apocalypse opens in NYC at Manhattan Theatre Source on 7 November 2010.
This PROGRAM NOTE provides an overview of the Book of Revelation and explains how the play Hamlet parodies its structure of sevens, its characters, and its depiction of Doomsday at the end of the Age. The Dark Lady Players' production of Hamlet's Apocalypse opens in NYC at Manhattan Theatre Source on 7 November 2010.

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Published by: JOHN HUDSON on Aug 23, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/12/2014

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www.darkladyplayers.com
PROGRAMNOTEFORHAMLET’SAPOCALYPSE
THEBOOKOFREVELATION(ORAPOCALYPSE)
isnotaforecastoffutureeventsinourmoderntimes,butratherapoeticalandsymbolicaccountofthepasthistoryoftheRomanJewishwar,andthevictoriesoftheFlavianEmperors,especiallytheemperorDomitianCaesarduringwhosereignitwascomposed.Theliterarystructureofthebookisacatalogueofsevens,whichinclude7vials,7letters,7trumpetsand7angels.Thebookfeaturesvariouseclipsesandastronomicalsigns,firefromtheheavens,andagreatstarWormwoodthatfallstoearth.ThecityofJerusalemisdescribedasacorruptWhore,decoratedinpurpleclothandinpearls.Shehasbeensupportedby—andliterallyhasbeenridingon‐‐‐theRomanCaesars.TheCaesarsaresymbolizedasaseven‐headedbeast,eachheadrepresentingoneoftheCaesars.Inpunishment,theWhoreisgivenadoubledraughtofapoisonedcupofwineanddies.Thebeastisconfinedtohell.ThewartakesplaceatthehillofMegiddo,knownasArmageddon,whichwasactuallytheplacewhereTitusandVespasianralliedtheirtroopsbeforemarchingonJerusalem,andliterallybringingdownfirefromheaventodestroythecityintheformofflamingcatapults.OthercharactersincludetheDevil,thekingofthePit,whoisreleasedintotheworld,andanotherbeastwhosenumberis666andrepresentsoneoftheFlavianCaesars.BothoftheseareconqueredbytheChristfigure,withthehelpofangelsandtheresurrectedsoulsofthedead.Thereisalsoamysteriouswomancrownedwiththesun,traditionallyidentifiedwiththeVirginMary.AttheendofDoomsdaytheforcesofChristhavewon,andanewheavenlyJerusalemdescendsfromthesky.Bothintheyear1600whenthefirstversionofHamletwasprobablywritten,andalsotoday,theBookofRevelationwasusedbytheChurchtocreateexpectationsofDoomsdayandtheEndoftheWorld.Asaresult,aTime/CNNsurvey(in2002)showedthat59%ofAmericansthinkthattheBookofRevelationisaprophecyofanApocalypsethatwilltakeplace—inmoderntimes.ThiswaswhytheReligiousRightlobbiedforanuclearattackonIran,andfortheIraqwarasthe“gatewayoftheApocalypse”inthehopeofcatalyzingDoomsdayandbringingaboutthereturnofJesus.AsPresidentBushtoldPresidentChiracofFrancein2003,"ThisconfrontationiswilledbyGod,whowantstousethisconflicttoerasehispeople'senemiesbeforeaNewAgebegins".FormanyyearsthisApocalypticworldviewhasalsobeen"fuelingcongressionalanti‐environmentalism"asGlennScherernotedinhisarticle'TheRoadtoEnvironmental

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