Special Episode: James Ijames on ‘Fat Ham,’ Shakespeare, Softness, and Rewriting Endings


On today’s episode, Ashley Steves is in conversation James Ijames, playwright of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Fat Ham,” which is now available to purchase via TCG Books. 

“Fat Ham,” a loose reinvention of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” follows Juicy, a young, queer, Southern man who is grappling with questions of identity when he is visited by the ghost of his father (Pap) at his mother’s wedding/family barbecue who 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 barbecue in the American South.

James Ijames is a South Philadelphia-based playwright, director, actor, and educator. Ijames was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for “Fat Ham.” His other awards include a Pew Fellowship, the F. Otto Haas Award for Emerging Artist, the Terrence McNally New Play Award, a Whiting Award, a Kesselring Prize, and a Steinberg Prize. His other plays include “The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington,” “Kill Move Paradise,” and “White.” 

Get your copy of “Fat Ham” from TCG Books:

Included Clips:

The Broadway cast of “Fat Ham” performs “Kill The Lights”

“Fat Ham” | Juicy & Tio Scene | The Public Theater

“Fat Ham” | Quoting Shakespeare Scene | The Public Theater

Connect with James:

Instagram: @jwijames

Connect with Ashley:

[email protected]

Instagram: @NoThisIsAshley

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