My sister Joan and I decided to go to the Jungle Theater tonight to see its funky new production of Hamlet, and I didn't like the idea of sitting through 3 1/4 hours of a play where I had no idea what's going on, so yesterday and today I'm doing a Hamlet cram.
I haven't seen Hamlet or ever read the play or even known the story -- just some of the famous lines, e.g., "To be or not to be: that is the question"; "To sleep, perchance to dream", "Get thee to a nunnery"...
Where to start for a quick prep? -- well, Wikipedia first, of course, for a summary of the play. And have you seen the No Fear Shakespeare books? They show the Shakespeare words on the left page, side-by-side with the words on the other page in 21st-century "plain English". So I'm reading the play, admittedly more from the "plain English" pages, and will have it finished by 7:30 p.m. and be ready for a Shakespearean evening with my English-literature-degreed sister.
P.S. The quote "What is this? Hamlet?" isn't Shakespeare. It's from an episode of The Golden Girls. :-)