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Fat Ham

Fat Ham

By James Ijames
Imprint: Theatre Communications Group
Paperback : 9781636701684, 112 pages, July 2023


  • Winner, Pulitzer Prize for Drama 2022


Winner of the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, James Ijames' Fat Ham reinvents Shakespeare's masterpiece in startling and hilarious ways amidst the backdrop of a family barbecue in the American South.

Juicy—a young, queer, Southern man, who is grappling with questions of identity—is visited by the ghost of his father (Pap) at his mother’s wedding/family barbeque. Pap demands that Juicy avenge his recent murder. How will Juicy, a sensitive and self-aware young Black man, trying to break a cycle of trauma and toxic masculinity, avenge his father’s premature death? Fat Ham reinvents Shakespeare’s masterpiece in startling and hilarious ways amidst the backdrop of a family barbeque in the American South.


“Hamlet said it first: ‘What a piece of work.’”

- Helen Shaw, Vulture

“A broad, buoyant comedy . . . James Ijames’s riff on Hamlet is an unalloyed comedy pleasure.”

- Charles Isherwood, Wall Street Journal

“Unabashedly entertaining . . . We need plays like Fat Ham.”

- Peter Marks, Washington Post

“James Ijames’s outstanding transformation of Shakespeare’s tragedy into a play about Black masculinity and queerness, both echoes Hamlet and finds a language beyond it . . . the effect is stunning, making the play a living text, moving between Hamlet, the story happening on the stage, and the world beyond the fourth wall.”

- Maya Phillips, The New York Times

“A fresh and vital force.”

- Vinson Cunningham, New Yorker