Hamnet: Poem Limited, a play by Dead Centre (Bush Moukarzel and Ben Kidd), 2017 [The play is available as an ebook through the AUD Library: Hamnet: Poem Limited]
Upstart Crow, TV series written by Ben Elton, BBC, ran for three seasons and two Christmas specials, 2016-2020
All Is True, film, directed by Kenneth Branagh, written by Ben Elton, starring Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, and Ian McKellen, 2018 [The film depicts Shakespeare in his final years, reunited with his family in retirement.]
A Waste of Shame, TV-movie, directed by John McKay, written by William Boyd, starring Rupert Graves and Tom Sturridge, 2005
My Father Had a Daughter: Judith Shakespeare’s Tale, a novel by Grace Tiffany, 2003
“Grief fills the room up of my absent child.” (William Shakespeare, King John, Act III scene iv) Irish theatre collective Dead Centre’s new solo work for an eleven-year-old boy is devoted to Shakespeare’s only son, Hamnet, who died in 1596 at the age of eleven. His father, the famous poet who had abandoned his family and was pursuing his theatre career far away from his family, was unable to get back to Stratford-upon-Avon in time to see his child one last time before he died. In 1599 Shakespeare wrote Hamlet. A single letter separates Hamnet from the philosophical heights of Hamlet. Unlike the Prince, he cannot ask ‘to be or not to be’. Condemned not to be, he now seeks to understand the world from which he has been wrested. While waiting for a visit from his father – a visit that may never happen – all he has are the plays to act as a surrogate parent. But what is Shakespeare telling us? How to be? Or how not to be? Hamnet is too young to understand Shakespeare. We are too old to understand Hamnet. Youth reaching forward to a life it will never know, an audience reaching back to a life it has forgotten. Two generations, asking each other what they want to pass on and receive.
* Hamnet. By Maggie O'Farrell. Read by Ell Potter. 2020.12.5hr. Books on Tape, DD, $95 (9780593212158). Here's what we might know--or agree on from limited historic documents and scholarly guessing […]
* Hamnet Maggie O'Farrell. Knopf, $26.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-525-65760-6 O'Farrell (This Must Be the Place) concocts an outstanding masterpiece of Shakespearehn apocrypha in this tale of an unnamed bard's family […]
"How were they to know that Hamnet was the pin holding them together?" One ordinary afternoon in 1596, 11-year-old Hamnet's twin sister, Judith, is suddenly taken ill as the Black Death stalks Stratford's lanes. Hamnet's father is, as always, away in London. His mother, skilled with herbs and possessing a numinous second sight, recognizes she will lose one of her children. Yet even she is shocked when it is not Judith who dies, but Hamnet. Historical sources on Agnes (aka Anne) Hathaway Shakespeare are few, so O'Farrell's imagination freely ranges in this tale of deepest love and loss. Flashbacks document the Shakespeares' marriage; O'Farrell offering a gentler rendering than the traditional view. While Hamnet's death inspires aspects of Hamlet, Shakespeare is not the foremost player here ("He is all head, that one. All head, with not much sense."); rather, it is Agnes, vibrant, uncannily perceptive, who takes center stage. While O'Farrell encapsulates atmosphere through small sensory details—golden honey dripping from a comb, the smell of lavender sprinkled into a vat of soap—she is laser focused on human connections, their ebb and flow, and how they can drown a person. This striking, painfully lovely novel captures the very nature of grief.