5-Minute Hamlet

Thursday, March 12, 2015 - By: Featherdawn F, Alex '15

While reading Hamlet, I often contemplated Shakespeare’s state of mind. How unsatisfied the man must have been, to write a play with such a frustrating protagonist. Hamlet, spends five acts talking about what he should be doing, and doing what he shouldn’t. And we, as a class studying Shakespeare, are studying what we should and doing what we shouldn’t—just kidding.        

That said, the play is also a masterpiece of verse and an incredible thing to read. According to our teacher, Mr. Paul Collis, Shakespearean extraordinaire, the best way to understand Shakespeare is to be Shakespeare. But no one can be Shakespeare. The closest we got was Hamlet in Five Minutes. Written by Mr. Collis, directed and acted by students, our play was a masterpiece of soon-to-be Oscar-winning actors.

Seven perfect performances in one 52 minute period and we were on the verge of something amazing. Our actors embodied their characters to such an extent that some students mistook them for the role they played. Christina T, Hope ’15 and I, designated paparazzi, caught Mr. Collis with tears in his eyes at Ben W’s performance as Horatio. His pain at the death of Hamlet—and every other actor in the play—was truly touching.

Our actors and stage crew sprinted from location to location, class to class, never breaking stride or losing enthusiasm. We performed in the chemistry lab, the arts building, and even Crooks Hall, wowing audiences and leaving them in a slightly confused, but non-the-less exalted, stupor—especially those younger grades who have yet to study the thing that is Hamlet.

At the end of the class we piled into our homeroom, exhausted but satisfied that the world was now truly a better place. Devon W, Mack ’15 removed her scandalous tights, remarking that she “hoped I would never have to be Gertrude again. That lady has some serious issues.” Graydon C, Privett ’15 remarked that “[he] was always Hamlet,” as the leather jacket he wore in the production is his daily attire. The ring of the bell sent us scurrying to our next classes, echoes of extended death scenes and horrific screams ringing in our ears. Our play would never be performed again, and now, for us, the Lit 12 class of 2015, the rest is silence.

Featherdawn F, Alex ‘15

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