Women Playing Hamlet

Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, The Snarks could not produce a play in their home theater, so they produced Women Playing Hamlet by William Missouri Downs by shooting it on Zoom directed by Joan Kane and edited by Nick Palladino. It was presented May 5 to May 9, 2021 on Broadway On Demand.


You may laugh or weep to your heart’s content as a young actress desperately seeks inspiration in this smart satire on the Bard’s masterpiece of madness, revenge and family drama. 29-year old Jessica Bisset, cast as Hamlet and overwhelmed by the challenge, turns to experts for guidance — her college English professor, a Freudian psychiatrist, a Shakespeare scholar – hires an acting coach, and gets plenty of unsolicited advice from friends and complete strangers, all of whom have MFAs. As befits a “revenge drama” like Hamlet, all the roles are played by women.

an excerpt from the play:

LORD DERBY:  Do you love Hamlet
JESSICA:  Sure. But to be honest, I like lots of plays—everything from Shakespeare to Simon— 
LORD DERBY:  Simon? 
JESSICA:  Neil Simon. 
LORD DERBY:  Stop! You’ve just committed the greatest sin one can commit! You mentioned William Shakespeare and Neil Simon in the same sentence! — Women Playing Hamlet, Act I


The cast of Women Playing Hamlet featured Alice Lustig as Jessica “Bisset” Ostergaard, Pat Tiné as the humanities professor, priest and barfly, Ellen Swanson as Emily Ostergaard, Starbucks actress and bartender, Patricia Rosenberg as Lord Derby, bicycle messenger, ghost and gravedigger, Kathleen Moore as Gwen, Nina Mathus as Minnesota mother and Polonius, Jane Rubinsky as the psychiatrist, stage manager and announcer, Brenda Broom as the Home Shopping Hostess Miss Darla Lee Day, Sophia Zannis as the Home Shopping Network Model and Rosy and Francine Myles and Gilda and King Claudius.


Directed by Joan Kane, assistant directors and production managers Linda Paternoster and Beverly Wells, sound design by Carlene Stober and Ed Matthew, edited by Nick Palladino, costumes by Amy Ludlow, lights by Bruce A! Kraemer, props by Ann Cadel, hair and makeup by Sabrina Ruggiero, power point design and title illustration by Virginia Cava, marketing by Ann Cadel and Sally Sherwood, audition reader Kay Crabb, props assistants Liz Apgar and Shelly Hellers.

quote from the playwright

“In the first minute of Women Playing Hamlet, I knew the script was in good hands. I was even laughing at my jokes. I truly enjoyed this! Superb acting, directing, and editing kept the play fun and moving. Joan is wonderful director! Alice is excellent as Hamlet. And company perfect. I could not be more pleased. I’ve had about a dozen Zoom productions in the last year. This was by far the best!”
William Missouri Downs, May 6, 2021

all photos are screenshots from the film.

Produced by special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc www.playscripts.com