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Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' presented at Cleveland High

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Emma Hadley (playing Hamlet) and Bria Robertson (as Ophelia), work on a scene for the upcoming CHS production of Hamlet.The Cleveland High School (CHS) Theater Department has a harrowing experience for you on evenings in April. The experience is filled with treachery, revenge, murder, incest, and moral corruption – with no consequences on the following morning. It’s a memorable presentation of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”.

On March 19, THE BEE visited the CHS Theater for a preview. Students were rehearsing their roles in their upcoming presentation – “Hamlet” is Shakespeare’s longest play, and it is still among the most influential tragedies in English literature.

“While keeping Shakespeare’s language intact,” explained the play’s Director, Jane Ferguson, “We’ve made it more accessible to both students and our audiences, by editing the play down to about two hours.”

Missing in this adaption of Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”, Ferguson said, are many of the repetitive phrases, and some of the lesser characters.

“We chose ‘Hamlet’ because the Cleveland High International Baccalaureate English Department – that’s more than 150 students – are reading it for their class,” Ferguson revealed. “We thought it would be a good collaboration to have our student actors perform the play that the students are studying.”

As part of their class assignment, some of the English teachers at the school have assigned critiques of the play. “In a sense, it’s become an all-school activity.”

And, students in the International Baccalaureate Advanced Acting Class are also among the cast members, Ferguson reported. “As well, students from throughout the school are involved, by creating costumes, designing the set, and building out the stage, under the direction of Josh Forsyte.”

The production features 22 student actors – with a total of 40 students involved with the production of the play.

The curtain goes up at 7 pm for the CHS production of “Hamlet” on April 4. It continues on the evenings of April 5, 6, 11, 12, and 13, at 7 pm. Tickets are available at the door: $8 for adults; $5 for students. The subject matter of this play is not suitable for children.