Caridad Svich

12 OPHELIAS (a play with broken songs)

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12 OPHELIAS (a play with broken songs)

Drama, Full-length

In this play with broken songs, Shakespeare’s Ophelia rises out of the water dreaming of reclaiming her life. She finds herself in a neo-Elizabethan Appalachian setting where Gertrude runs a brothel, Hamlet is a Rude Boy and nothing is what it seems. In this mirrored world of word-scraps and cold sex, Ophelia cuts a new path for herself.

“A whimsical riff on HAMLET which imagines an afterlife for Elsinore’s unluckiest lass. A twisted take on the tragedy.”—The New York Times

“Caridad Svich’s 12 OPHELIAS is practically suffused with ghosts, much in the same way that Shakespeare’s original HAMLET asks the title character—and audiences—to believe that he’s acting upon his dead father’s dictates. In the brittle, lyrical landscape Svich constructs, whisking us off to the afterlife for Ophelia... 12 OPHELIAS may seem like a deconstructed masterstroke. In many ways, it is.”—New York Press


Character List

(6-12 Actors)

All roles are open casting though it is preferred if Ophelia, Gertrude, and Mina are cast with women. 

OPHELIA-cracked angel for a new-fangled age

RUDE BOY-(Hamlet) Ophelia’s undisguised lover in tatters

R: (Rosencrantz) from this time and another, 

guardian of memory, androgynous

G: (Guildenstern) mate to R, guardian of memory,  androgynous

H: (Horatio), best friend and confidante of Rude Boy

GERTRUDE: a monied madam with a pure voice

MINA: works for Gertrude, a local whore, of this world

CHORUS OF OPHELIAS: five apparitions, voices buried underwater, the chorus of Ophelia’s dreams

Setting: Water. Road. Time. Here. In the now of memory.


Caridad Svich

[I'm a] a playwright, songwriter, editor and translator living between many cultures, including inherited ones, the idea of departure has always been not only an actual or metaphorical basis for writing the work, but also an idea made manifest through the enactment of writing, its performance, and my living of it. Born in the US of Cuban-Argentine-Spanish-Croatian parents, I have felt in a strange kind of exile even while growing up as an “American.” This sense of... [FULL BIO]