Wilma Theater Announces World Premiere Digital Production of James Ijames’ FAT HAM

Filmed on location in Virginia, the production runs March 25 through April 10, 2021


The ghost of Juicy’s dad haunts him and asks for revenge – on Juicy’s uncle, who has now married his widowed mom. Sound familiar?  The Wilma Theater is pleased to announce the world premiere digital production of James Ijames’ FAT HAM, a contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s HAMLET, set in the American South.  The site-specific filmed production, filmed on location in Virginia, will be available for viewers from March 25 through April 10, 2021.  The newest work by award-winning playwright and Wilma Co-Artistic Director Ijames (KILL MOVE PARADISE), FAT HAM will be directed by Co-Artistic Director Morgan Green.


“I love HAMLET.  I have a fraught relationship with Shakespeare, but I love HAMLET,” notes Ijames about his new work.  In creating the play, Ijames asked himself, “What does the HAMLET narrative look like if it’s queered, and if it’s infiltrated and taken over by people of color?”  The end result is FAT HAM, which explores big issues, like toxic masculinity and cycles of violence, with a light touch.


This is FAT HAM playwright James Ijames’ and director Morgan Green’s first season serving as Co-Artistic Directors as the Wilma, alongside fellow Co-Artistic Directors Yury Urnov and Blanka Zizka.


“We are shooting the play as a one-take film, in attempt to retain the feeling of the continuous real-time storytelling of the play (which takes place over the course of an afternoon/evening wedding BBQ celebration) while still taking advantage of the unique vocabulary of the handheld camera,” said Green.


FAT HAM features Taysha Marie Canales as Opal, Kimberly S. Fairbanks as Tedra, Jennifer Kidwell as Rabby, Brennen S. Malone as Juicy, Anthony Martinez-Briggs as Tio, Brandon J. Pierce as Larry, and Lindsay Smiling as Rev/Pap.


This is the second play of the Wilma’s reimagined 2020-21 Season, following the smash success of Will Arbery’s HEROES OF THE FOURTH TURNING in December, which the New York Times called “unmissable.”


FAT HAM is the first production for which the Wilma has appointed an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer, Noelle Diane Johnson.  Johnson, is a multidisciplinary Theatre and Performance Artist, AEA Stage Manager, Director, EDI Consultant, and Artist Advocate.  She is also the owner and founder of ARTISTS HEAL LLC, a company designed to center and provide resources for Black and Global Majority Artists while offering self-liberated, inclusive, and equitable spaces for healing and expansion through artistic practice.


Kellie Mecleary serves as Producing Director, Briana Gause as Associate Director, Mariah Ghant as Artistic Administrator and Company Manager, Patreshettarlini Adams as Resident Stage Manager, Chris Nelson as Production Manager, Sara Brown as Production Designer, Maiko Matsushima as Costume Designer, Jordan McCree as Sound Designer, Leslie Rivera as Director of Photography, Jorge Cousineau as Video Consultant, Xavier Pierce as Lighting Designer, Ian Rose as Fight Director, Rachael Blackwell as Associate Lighting Designer, Morgan Porter as Wardrobe Supervisor, Joe Samala as Sound Engineer, Taj Rauch as Assistant Director of Photography, Missy Furth as Props Designer, Stacey McBride as Hair and Make-up Designer, Benjamin Henry as Grip, and Campbell O’Hare as Covid Safety Officer.


Tickets to FAT HAM are available at wilmatheater.org.  Tickets are $37 per household, with discounts available for seniors, students, and WilmaPass holders.



James Ijames is a playwright, performer, director and educator. James’ plays have been produced by Flashpoint Theater Company, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon, Wilma Theatre (Philadelphia, PA), The National Black Theatre (NYC), Steppenwolf Theatre, Definition Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre (Chicago IL) Shotgun Players (Berkeley, CA) and have received development with PlayPenn New Play Conference, The Lark, Playwright’s Horizon, Clubbed Thumb, Villanova Theater, Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre and Victory Garden.

James is the 2011 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist recipient, and he has two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play and two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Direction of a Play. James is a 2015 Pew Fellow for Playwriting, the 2015 winner of the Terrance McNally New Play Award for WHITE, the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize winner for ….Miz Martha, a 2017 recipient of the Whiting Award. 2019 Kesselring Prize for Kill Move Paradise and a 2020 Steinberg Award.



Morgan Green is a director of theater, film, radio, and dinner time. She is currently one of four Co-Artistic Directors at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia and a co-founder of New Saloon Theater Co. Morgan received the 2016 New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Director for her work on New Saloon’s MINOR CHARACTER: Six Translations of Uncle Vanya at the Same Time, which was most recently seen at the Public Theater’s 2019 Under the Radar festival. A selection of recent work includes: The Danube by María Irene Fornés (Harvard University), The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe (Marin Theatre Company), Cute Activist by Milo Cramer (The Bushwick Starr), and The Music Man by Meredith Wilson (The Sharon Playhouse). Morgan is a New Georges Affiliated Artist, former artist in residence at Bric, Mabou Mines, and Baryshnikov Arts Center, an alumna of the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, a former Robert Moss Directing Fellow at Playwrights Horizons, and a proud member of SDC. MorganClaireGreen.com



Linda and David Glickstein


Carole Haas Gravagno




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