Hamlet review: To go or not to go, there is no question


photo courtesy of Emily Broderick

Katie Puryear, web managing editor

I’ll be honest. I didn’t expect much. A bunch of high school kids putting on what’s supposed to be one of the best works of the English language? I’ve sat through my fair share of English classes, reading Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, and Othello, and I’ve listened to all of us struggle with the Elizabethan language and slogged through it myself. I didn’t expect the KH Players’ production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet to be much different.

I was floored by the dress rehearsal my and many other English classes went to see Wednesday, Dec. 3.

Hamlet is, to be brief, a play about a prince’s struggle to find meaning in his life after his father is killed by his uncle, who then marries Hamlet’s mother and takes over the throne. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t exactly work out for him.

Instead of stumbling over the strange words and iambic pentameter, the cast delivered the lines with just as much ease as the obnoxious teen slang I’m so used to hearing.

While there’s a lot of talking and soliloquizing, Hamlet is filled with dramatic action: there’s slapping, stabbing, sword fighting, fist fighting, throwing, kissing and killing. I expected my fellow teens to shy away from these intense actions as I would, with awkward, half-hearted movements. They did the exact opposite, making each movement, though extreme, believable.

And even though the majority of the play is intense and dramatic and Hamlet is an extremely depressed guy, it’s not all doom and gloom. There were some extremely welcome moments of comic relief that could have easily fallen flat. Instead, they soared.

I’ve never seen or read Hamlet before, but I’ve seen professional productions of other Shakespeare plays, and I’d readily say I enjoyed this high school production of Hamlet just as much as those. This version is over two hours long, but it felt like two minutes. You’d think there’d come a time I would stop being amazed by what my peers are capable of, but it hasn’t come yet.

Hamlet is playing in Keating Theater Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. Tickets are $7 for students and $10 for adults.