A Conversation for So You Want to Write a Play!

A Hamlet Question

Post 1

Jon of POB

When I studied Hamlet last year it was described to me as 'the longest play written in the English language'. Is this true, or just one of those facts which is mainly sentimental?

If this is true, is there anything stopping me from writing a play called 'Going to see Hamlet' - which includes the whole of Hamlet, plus a short scene before and afterwards? Could I beat The Bard at his own game?

A Hamlet Question

Post 2

Base 13

oh i hope it isnt the longest.....we're about to read it in my 12th grade english class

A Hamlet Question

Post 3


I doubt that Hamlet is the longest play written in English, but it probably held the record for quite a while. But with all the experimentation in theatre that started in the late 19th and all of the 20th centuries, there must be a few that are longer. (I've heard tell of a stage version of the Illuminatus Trilogy books which was 10 hours long, but I can't confirm it's existance.)

But yeah, Hamlet does carry that description. Similarly it is also said that the character of Hamlet has the most lines of any character in English (the language) theatre. This was also probably true until sometime in the 20th century.

Now it would be more apt to say that Hamlet is is the longest play written in the English language that people would be willing to sit through.

A Hamlet Question

Post 4

B R Wombat

There are lots of plays longer than Hamlet. Peter Brooks Mahabharta to name but one.

A Hamlet Question

Post 5

Jon of POB

Wow a coversation that has spanned almost a year, cool!

A Hamlet Question

Post 6

the third man(temporary armistice)n strike)

What about Stoppard's new play. Apparantly it goes on for a whole day. Maybe he should have called it A Play for the Day.

A Hamlet Question

Post 7


Perhaps it is the longest 'running play'? or, the oldest play. Was it Shakespeares first?

Perhaps it just takes place over the longest period?

smiley - towel

A Hamlet Question

Post 8

Amy: ear-deep in novels, poetics, and historical documents.

None of the above, I think. Actually, I think Hamlet's one of the shorter plays. At least it feels that when when you read it (try King Lear on for size one day smiley - zzz). And his first was Comedy of Errors (c. 1590) and Hamlet wasn't written till 1601 or thereabouts.

A Hamlet Question

Post 9

the third man(temporary armistice)n strike)

In terms of length of time Hamlet is the longest of Shakespeare's plays, it can easily run to nearly four hours. But I was told that in terms of the actual number of lines spoken then it is Iago in Othello who speaks the most.

A Hamlet Question

Post 10


I saw a play about six months ago that lasted from 11 in the morning till 6 at night. It was about the trojan war. I can't find my program right now so I can't remember what is was called. If anyone else knows please tell me.

A Hamlet Question

Post 11


Are you thinking of Homer's Oddessy (sp?) Dengarm? Traditionally that would have been split into three pieces. I think Hamlet contains the longest soliliquy in the English language. Othello's Iago does have the most lines of any Shakespeare play and I think it's still high in the rankings for all of the English language

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