Shakespeare in the Park to Feature Groundbreaking New Puppetry- Nevermind, It’s a Raccoon
by Sarah Lasko. @saraheleora.
NEW YORK, NY - Following in the footsteps of shows like Life of Pi and War Horse, Shakespeare in the Park’s 2023 production of Hamlet features breathtaking new puppetry that’s sure to wow New York City audiences…wait, nevermind, goddamn it, I think it’s a live raccoon up there.
“I see shows at the Delacorte every summer,” says avid theatergoer Audrey Newman, while double fisting $16 frozés from concessions. "I have to say, the special effects on stage just keep getting better. I’d never have thought to add puppetry into the ‘To Be or Not to Be’ speech, but watching Hamlet passionately battle a wild animal really added to the dramatic tension. That’s why I love Shakespeare in the Park. They always push the bounds of contemporary drama.”
Other audience members were less convinced that an update to the classic Shakespearean piece was necessary.
“I don’t want to sound like a Shakespeare purist,” claims Harold Sanchez, who later admitted to being a Shakespeare purist. "But frankly, I thought the raccoon puppet was pretty distracting. Look, I get how the director used it as a metaphor for Hamlet’s rage toward Claudius. I just didn’t like that Hamlet spent the whole scene running back-and-forth across the stage until the puppet finally got him. And then when he started foaming at the mouth? That part was just overkill.”
When asked about the creative new direction for Hamlet’s iconic soliloquy, Public Theatre director Kenny Leon was quick to weigh in.
“What? Is there an animal onstage? Can someone go check on Ato? Sweet God, hold on, I’m headed there right now.”
At press time, Public Theatre representative Andre Lucas would neither confirm nor deny whether puppetry is being used in the production, but Lucas did offer these words:
“The Public Theatre and Shakespeare in the Park are proud to be able to stand at the forefront of innovation in New York City theatre. Additionally, we’re pleased to now offer complimentary rabies shots to audience members sitting in the first three rows at the Delacorte.”