Abandoning Tragedy in James Ijames’s Fat Ham
Keywords:Premodern Critical Race Studies, Adaptation, Revision, Hamlet, Fat Ham
The story of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is adapted and revised by James Ijames in his play, Fat Ham, which ran from 12 May to 31 July 2022 at The Public Theater, coproduced by the National Black Theatre. Ijames’s play, which won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for drama, plays with and departs from the plot of Hamlet to explore Black manhood, the family, and cycles of violence that are broken by love. Rejecting generic constraints demanded by tragedy—male violence and misogyny, and compliant and sacrificial women—the play stages a celebration of the of love, friendship, forgiveness, compassion, and queer pride.