High Comedy + Human Drama
by Theresa Rebeck

Mar 25 – Jun 24

Mark Twain wrote: “There are five kinds of actresses: bad actresses, fair actresses, good actresses, great actresses—and then there is Sarah Bernhardt.” It’s 1899 in Paris, and legendary diva Sarah Bernhardt needs a crowd-pleaser to save her debt-ridden theatre company. So she decides to ditch the dresses and tackle her most ambitious role yet: Hamlet!  The city watches to see whether this bold plan will be her legacy or folly. High comedy and human drama collide in this vivid account of a 19th century woman issuing a challenge to the system. And it’s as timely as ever.

Commonweal alumna Amanda Rafuse returns to Lanesboro to direct this richly-layered piece of historical fiction, inspired by true events. Adrienne Sweeney plays the world’s first celebrity Sarah Bernhardt, who surrounds herself with brilliant artists of all types. This love letter to theatre will provoke, inspire, and delight. It’s the perfect beginning to our 35th season of storytelling at the Commonweal.
Pay What You Can

The Commonweal Theatre strives to make theatre accessible to all. To take advantage of our Pay What You Can performance for Bernhardt/Hamlet, Thursday April 6, please contact our box office at (800) 657-7025. 

Suitability Suggestion

Bernhardt/Hamlet is a play of ideas, romance, and the art of making art. As Sarah and her ensemble rehearse Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the characters contend with questions about gender, power, family, and legacy. This production is recommended for high school students and older.

Explore More:
In her day, the French actor Sarah Bernhardt was said to be the most famous woman in the world after Queen Victoria. The American scholar Edward Berenson helps Francine untangle the many strands of Bernhardt’s appeal… listen now.
Behind the scenes, legendary actors Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse were also entrepreneurs who ran their own companies and controlled every aspect of their careers… listen now
Special Thanks to our 2023 Media Partner and our Show Sponsor

BERNHARDT/HAMLET is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc. 

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from The Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

The Commonweal is grateful for a generous, anonymous major gift in support of our entire 2023 Season.