FAT HAM, the delectable comic tragedy that reinvents Hamlet by centering Black joy and liberation in its examination of love and loss, reunites playwright James Ijames with director Saheem Ali. Adding to this excitement, Ijames won the 2022 Pulitzer for Drama with this same play, just days before performances began on May 12.
The “Hamlet” in this reinvented take is Juicy, a queer, Southern college kid, already grappling with some serious questions about identity when the ghost of his father shows up in their backyard, demanding that Juicy avenge his murder. It feels like a familiar story to Juicy, well-versed in Hamlet’s woes, but what’s different is how this sensitive and self-aware young Black man tries to break the cycles of trauma and violence in service of his own liberation. From an uproarious family barbecue emerges a compelling examination of pain, freedom, and finding joy.
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This production is also a reunion of the partnership between National Black Theatre and The Public Theater. Dating back to the 1960s, the two theater companies have had a long-standing history of collaboration. They most recently co-produced National Black Theatre’s Stage for Healing and Resilience as a part of the Mobile Unit’s SUMMER OF JOY that took place last summer.
Both organizations join forces in this celebration of Black storytelling and community with FAT HAM, which runs through mid-June at The Public Theater.
For more information on how to access tickets, photos of the cast and production, and a special playlist, visit publictheater.org.
Learn more about National Black Theatre and its programming at nationalblacktheatre.org.