Hamlet Field Trip Worthwhile


Mallory Kaster, Senior Staff Writer

Notre Dame juniors and seniors loaded up buses Friday morning to travel to the Fox Cities PAC for a performance of Hamlet.

The Acting Company, in association with the Guthrie Theater, presented the Shakespeare classic to area middle and high schools.

The performance was traditional, with actors wearing the typical clothing for the time period. However, the performance began with the use of flashlights, which threw some audience members off.

“Why couldn’t they use lanterns?” some of my fellow IB English students questioned. “It was a little confusing.”

Some also found the casting to be a little…off. Most students noted that Claudius, Hamlet’s father, seemed too close to Hamlet’s age, making it impossible for him to be Hamlet’s father.

Some students were also not happy with the casting of the Queen or Ophelia.

What I can say with utmost confidence, however, is that the actor portraying Hamlet was AMAZING. In each of his scenes, I was left mesmerized.

As someone who has acted in Shakespearean plays, I know how difficult it can be to understand Shakespeare and memorize lines, but this actor was flawless, and spoke as though Shakespearean English was his native language.

This performance also had me laughing more often than I expected. The funniest lines belonged to Hamlet and Polonius, who was older than most expected. Hamlet’s over-the-top acting kept even the least interested audience members intrigued.

This company also decided to cut out some scenes so the show was not as long, but this also confused some students, especially those who hadn’t read the play before.

Even though scenes were cut, most students felt that the show was still a little lengthy, especially when they returned to school to find out that they had about ten minutes to eat lunch.

I also feel like a few more special effects could have been added to enhance the performance, especially in the final scene with sword fighting. The acting in this scene seemed a little elementary, something that would fit better on a high school stage.

However, the music played in between scenes added to the performance, and helped audience members understand that the scene was changing. It also added to the mood of the scene at each point in the play.

Costuming was also a plus. The traditional early 17th century clothing made the play seem more realistic. The makeup, especially for the players, was also extravagant.

It’s safe to say that entertaining a group of middle and high school students with a Shakespearean play is not easy. Yes, there were some students sleeping, but that was probably expected.

However, the students who stayed awake were treated with a show full of incredible acting and amazing costuming. Most students who attended from NDA had read Hamlet in their English classes, and said that seeing the show enhanced their understanding of the play.

Overall, seeing Hamlet was worthwhile. Of course it wasn’t perfect, and you will still find students upset about a ten minute lunch, but it did help students understand the play more thoroughly. I give this performance four out of five stars.