by Freddy Carnes, Artistic Associate
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!