Award-Winning Theatre Troupe to Perform at Villanova University

Villanova, Pa. – The award-winning and internationally acclaimed Texas-based troupe The Hidden Room Theatre brings its slapstick marionette “der Bestrafte Brudermord; or Hamlet, Prince of Denmark” to Villanova March 23 and 24. The whirlwind 75-minute performances each night at 7:30 p.m. are preceded at 5 p.m. by talkbacks and workshops on theatre scholarship and practice. 

Called a “rare gem of an experience” by the Austin Chronicle, the comedy has won multiple regional theatre awards.  In 1710, this mysterious and hilarious German “Hamlet” was found in the depths of a monastery.  This performance is a new translation of this literary oddity as it may have originally been performed: a puppet show.  In keeping with 18th-century marionette tradition, the production employs onstage narrators who perform all voices, music and sound effects for the puppet cast.  The show features beautiful Sicilian rod marionettes by Los Angeles’ Mystery Bird Puppet Show. The Hidden Room Theatre specializes in linking the past and the future of performance. 

The two-day schedule of events is: 

  • March 23

    • 5:00 p.m. Workshop: “Page to Stage: Turning Theatre Scholarship into Practice”
      Using Hidden Room's der Bestrafte Brudermord as a model, this discussion hopes to illuminate ways that theatre practitioners might build successful working relationships with scholars and use their research to infuse old plays with new life.

    • 6:30 p.m.
      Scholarly Talk by Prof. Zachary Lesser, University of Pennsylvania
      “Uncanny Hamlets: The Mystery of der Bestrafte Brudermord

    • 7:30 p.m. 
      Performance of der Bestrafte Brudermord followed by artist talk-back 

  • Tuesday, March 24

    • 5:00 p.m.Workshop: “The Business of Playing Professionally: Making a Living in the Theatre”
      The Hidden Room's artistic director/theatrical deviser, Beth Burns, has worked in all areas of the thearre. Burns invites you to learn from her mistakes as she details her successes, stumbling blocks, and ways into the future with a focus on a creating a sustainable economic model for a theatrical company.

    • 7:30 p.m. 
      Performance of der Bestrafte Brudermord followed by artist talk-back 

The Hidden Room’s two-day visit is co-sponsored by Villanova University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the University of Pennsylvania, as well as the Villanova Departments of Theatre and English, Gender and Women’s Studies Program, and the Honors Program; and University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing, Theatre Arts Program, English Department Undergraduate and Graduate Programs. The events take place in Connelly Center Cinema and are free with Villanova or University of Pennsylvania ID and are ACS approved.