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Shakespeare in Prussia

August 31, 1996

In Liz Smith's Aug. 22 column, she said that Kenneth Branagh's new production of "Hamlet" "is set in an entirely different period from any previous version of Shakespeare's most famous work," 19th century Prussia.

In early 1986, I was working at Toronto Free Theatre where we were producing "Hamlet," which was set in 19th century Prussia. During rehearsals, I had the opportunity to pop down to New York to catch some shows. Among them was the Public Theatre's production of 'Hamlet" starring the outstanding Kevin Kline, set in 19th century Prussia. When I returned to Toronto, we were discussing this odd coincidence of two directors coming up with such a similar concept, when one of my colleagues pointed out that the Manitoba Theatre Centre was also producing a 19th century Prussian "Hamlet."

All this within a few months of one another.

BRIAN BEIRNE

North Hollywood

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