A sophisticated New York director with a successful Off Broadway season under her belt reluctantly travels to West Virginia to direct Hamlet under the auspices of a grant for “under served regions.” Only six people show up to audition: 23 year old Mona who has always dreamed of playing Ophelia, a coal truck driver whose single desire is Mona, two waitresses in their forties who have never been stage struck, 74 year old Hattie Johnson who has spearheaded the effort to see Mona get a crack at her dream, and the bank vice president who has been ordered to appear.
Gathering in Hattie’s Restaurant, this group perpetrates the most harrowing production of Shakespeare ever mounted. Some amazing costumes and merry mishaps ladle hilarity on top of sincere attempts to tailor Hamlet to this remarkable cast. The play is the thing, and though limp in quality, the production marches forward in tune to very real and deep human spirits bent on accomplishment.
The result, a fractured, quixotic play, provides a fine example of realizing the impossible dream.