Justice Kennedy to Preside at “The Trial of Hamlet”

The character will have a mock trial, with actors and others on the jury.

Getty Images

Characters don't come more back-and-forth-y, nor hem-haw-y, nor as infinitely relatable on certain points, than a certain troubled prince we all know from school and the stage.

And when it comes to knowing, is there a person on the planet who can't deliver Hamlet's five most famous words? They're all pretty short words. They all pack some pow. Think now. 

To be, or not to be one of theater's most enduring questions is not the question, at least not here. The question, on Monday, Jan. 31, will be this: Is Hamlet able to stand trial for killing Polonius? Or will the court deem the Prince of Denmark not mentally competent?

A mock trial will be held at USC, with none other than Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy presiding. A whole bevy of laureled lawyers and psychologists will make arguments before the jury, which will include high school students, "Los Angeles dignitaries," and a few actors.

Helen Hunt and Tom Irwin are slate, as of now, to be two of the jurists. Bet there will be some theater and film notables in the audience, too.

"The Trial of Hamlet" is an interesting intersection of ideas, theater, law, real life, and drama. Those things are uniting here in a way that doesn't happen all that often (or not at a planned event, anyway). And the trial provides an interesting facet through which to view a character so familiar to many of us we all too often relegate him to his most famous soliloquy, and nothing further. Time to get to know him better, or again.

Shakespeare Center Los Angeles is presenting; tickets are $30-$50, plus fee.

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
Contact Us