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Hamlet vs. Zombies Spreads Infectious Laughs to Upcoming Festival

Skinny Improv

Debuting last month “Hamlet vs. Zombies: Something is Rotting in the State of Denmark” surprised many show goers who found it to be a very interesting and funny take on Shakespeare’s Hamlet.  Now the cast of the show will be taking the zombie apocalypse on the road performing in Kansas City and San Francisco.   KSMU’s Matthew Barnes reports.

The play is an original work by Bryant Turnag and Jeff Jenkins. While the setting is modern day and it’s more of a comedy than the original, it still has some similarities to the Bard’s Hamlet.  Jeff Jenkins, owner of the Skinny Improv, talks about some of the elements of the play. 

“We try to keep a lot of the same themes and a lot of the same ideas in the show. So, most of the major speeches are in there, to be or not to be is in there, get thee to a nunnery.  All the things that people are most familiar with we tried to keep them in there and just kind of expanded on them a little bit,” says Jenkins.

The play starts after Claudius has murdered his brother who is the king and he’s taken his throne. Soon after, he infects a platoon of his own soldiers with a zombie virus that Hamlet and his sidekick Horatio have to find a cure for.  The old king of Denmark makes an appearance himself as a zombie. Jennifer Eiffert, who plays Hamlet’s mother Gertrude, talks about her character.

  “The original Hamlet I think Gertrude is a women trapped.  Some people think of her as a villain, some people think she’s an idiot, but think she’s an unfortunate woman.  In this play Gertrude is very much in love with her son. She is a bit flighty not quite the brightest bulb,” says Eiffert.

Pink confetti for blood, actors shouting “Bang!” for gunfire and slow motion action scenes are just some of the “special effects” that people will enjoy when the show goes on the road for the Kansas City and San Francisco Fringe Festivals. Again, Jeff Jenkins.

“Fringe is basically, it’s kind of like, non-traditional performing arts or just arts. Its not just theater but its dance, its music, its visual arts, it’s a lot of different things. So it’s just things that aren’t done traditionally at traditional theaters, a lot of newer works,” says Jenkins. 

Hamlet vs. Zombies will be having encore performances 10pm July 21 and 8pm July 22 at The Skinny Improv in Springfield.  The cast will be at the Kansas City festival from July 23rdto the 30th. 

For KSMU News, I’m Matthew Barnes