Ser o no ser: Hamlet, El Salvador, and the haunt of generational trauma
Part of the lasting appeal of William Shakespeare is how relatable his works are, regardless of who's reading them. While most of us aren't Danish princes or Scottish queens, his attention on mental health and family discord resonates with audiences across the ages.
These issues are at the center of House of Sueños, a new audio drama from the Seattle Shakespeare Company. The play reimagines Hamlet through the eyes of its writer, Meme Garcia, who grapples with mental health and the trauma of their family's Salvadorian-American experience.
"It's what my international trauma and legacy burden feel like," says Garcia, who began House of Sueños in their final year at Seattle University. Shifting from solo show to recorded stage performance to audio drama, the play has weathered restrictions of the pandemic to deliver a poignant message on grief and trauma.
Record Producer Alec Cowan spoke with Garcia about the inspirations for the play, the difficulties in writing it, and the importance of revisiting and readapting Shakespeare.