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September 20, 2006

Press Contact: Jodi Bart, UT Law Communications, 512-232-1408 or jbart@law.utexas.edu.
Event Contact: Matthew Harvey, UT English Department, (512) 471-8567 or mnh@mail.utexas.edu.

Shakespeare & the Law: Scenes and Panel on Legal Issues from Hamlet, Oct. 4

Actors from the London Stage Logo

WHAT: Panel discussion and performance of Shakespeare’s Hamlet
WHEN: Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Eidman Courtroom, UT Law (Directions and parking: http://www.utexas.edu/law/about/parking.html)
WHO: The event is free and open to the public

AUSTIN, Texas—Actors from Spirit of Shakespeare, a UT student organization, will perform the play within a play scene from Hamlet as part of a panel discussion entitled “The Law’s Delay: Shakespeare’s Hamlet” on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at The University of Texas School of Law. The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Eidman Courtroom.

The panel's title, "The Law's Delay," is taken directly from Hamlet's famous soliloquy, "To be, or not to be," where many commentators believe he contemplates suicide. Each panel member will decide individually how to approach the topic.

Zipporah Wiseman, the Thos. H. Law Centennial Professor at The University of Texas School of Law will moderate the panel of experienced Shakespearean directors, including:

"Was Hamlet a serial killer?," asks panel moderator Zipporah Wiseman. "Hamlet, had he lived, could have been tried under today’s criminal law for six murders. Could he have defended himself on the grounds of insanity? Self defense? Diminished capacity? Lack of intent? Was he guilty?," posits Wiseman. These legal issues and more will be discussed by the panelists and audience members.

The event is part of an annual program, “Actors from the London Stage,” a week long celebration of Shakespeare's Hamlet at UT-Austin. “Actors from the London Stage” is an educational and theatrical program that brings a troupe of five classically trained actors from major English theatres to college campuses for week-long residencies.

During their week at The University of Texas, the actors will teach up to 33 classes and workshops; offer two one-person shows in the Harry Ransom's Poetry on the Plaza series; and perform a minimalist production of Hamlet.

The law panel emanates from the 2002 interdisciplinary conference "From Text to Performance: Law and other Performing Arts." The week-long conference investigated interpretation with regards to music, law and art. The event included a production of the courtroom scene in act four of The Merchant of Venice.

Since then, the Actors from the London Stage Residency Program has brought Measure for Measure (2003), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2004), and Twelfth Night (2005).

For more information, please see http://www.utexas.edu/cola/depts/english/shakespeare-studies/AFTLS-Fall-Production/.

Related Links:
• Actors from the London Stage: http://www.utexas.edu/cola/depts/english/shakespeare-studies/AFTLS.php
• Hamlet, searchable database: http://www.opensourceshakespeare.com/views/plays/playmenu.php?WorkID=hamlet