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October and Shakespeare

by Freddy Carnes, Artistic Associate

October is always a fun month for me.  I do love the changing of the weather (hopefully this year we will get some fall coolness!)

I also love Halloween.  I have found myself telling “Hamlet” a lot in my After School classes in October.  The kids love that it’s a ghost story and I love that it is Shakespeare.  We will put on costumes and with plastic swords (properly choreographed) we act out the final duel between Laertes and Hamlet.  We have children raising their hands and asking, “Can I play Queen Gertrude?”and  “I want to be Claudius!”  As we end the scene and all the actors are on the floor “dead” it hits home to them how important being alive is.  We discuss why Claudius would make such a bad decision by killing his brother.  We talk about the similarities between “Hamlet” and The Lion King”.  We learn “To Be or Not to Be”, the Ghost’s speech (“I am thy Father’s spirit …”) and Ophelia’s speech (“Tomorrow is St. Valentine’s Day …”)  The children will come up to me days later and recite the entire “To Be or Not to Be” speech without my prompting.

Thank you Shakespeare!  Thank you October!

About creativeactionaustin

We are based in Austin, Texas and reach more than 16,000 young people every year through our unique blend of theatre and education programs.Our programs expose young people to critical social problems and offer opportunities for them to creatively think about how they can be a part of solutions to these problems. Creative Action is a unique blend of art and education – for us, the two are intertwined. We believe that using the arts as a teaching method provides a fun, engaging and inspiring way to learn – it incorporates the whole mind and body.

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