Cover image of the script for 12 Ophelias, black print on white background

12 Ophelias (a play with broken songs)

6-12 Actors
University, Community & Pro


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.

Casting & Production


(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


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


“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

Music & Materials

The chorus may be live or heard/seen as pre-recorded voices.
The required sheet music is provided digitally with all licenses to perform 12 Ophelias.

Upcoming Productions

Sep 0629, 2024
Ophelia's Jump Productions
Claremont, CA
Mar 2630, 2025
Point Park University - Pittsburgh Playhouse
Pittsburgh, PA

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