Hamlet. It’s heavy.

Beginning on December 2, 2013 Shakespeare in Action is producing a new arrangement of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet by Thomas Morgan Jones directed by Michael Kelly. Arguably one of the most quotable quotes from Shakespeare is found in Hamlet…”To be, or not to be: that is the question:” Our performance of Hamlet will open to an audience of mostly children and youth, and unfortunately these young people are growing up in a time where this famous question is more relevant than ever, whether they realize it or not.

There are various interpretations on the exact meaning of the famous “to be” speech, my understanding is that Hamlet is questioning whether or not to go on living, whether or not “to suffer the Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,” I’m glad that Shakespeare in Action is performing this re-adapted version of Hamlet and I hope that it sparks a difficult but necessary conversation with our young audiences. Suicide and death is a heavy and complicated subject, but it’s real and sadly it’s a real issue. It’s through the arts and through theatre that we can bridge these issues and inspire thoughtful insights.  In many ways Hamlet is not much different from any young person dealing with loss, grief and personal struggles today. Shakespeare’s work connects to the most basic human feelings and that’s why plays like Hamlet will continue to resonate; because the central themes are intrinsically humanistic.

what a downer this blog-post is today.  cricket cricket. Must find a way to end on a more uplifting note…

hmm…

Well, Disney’s The Lion King is essentially based on Hamlet. When my 9th grade English teacher brought that to my attention I think that was the first time I felt I understood Shakespeare! So I suppose, in a way, we have Shakespeare to thank for inspiring the Hakuna Matata!!!

Thanks for reading and be sure to checkout www.shakespeareinaction.org/hamlet.html for more info about our upcoming performance of Hamlet.

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