First performed during the Elizabethan era in 1600, “Hamlet” still remains one of William Shakespeare’s most famous works. Four hundred years later, “Hamlet” still evokes a sense of mystery and suspense from its audiences. Tomorrow promises to be no different with professor Lee Stille’s direction of “Hamlet”.
“I have worked with a lot of Shakespeare and have been thinking about this one for awhile,” Stille said. “I decided last year that I was going to do ‘Hamlet’ and have spent the summer working out all the fine details.”
This is a story encompassing deception, assassination and suicide with ghosts, sword fighting and potions of death. It is considered or acknowledged to be a life/death play (or tragedy), and is set during the characters’ adolescence.
“While I acknowledge that this is certainly an element of the play, to me the play addresses many different issues,” Stille said. “Things such as survival in a changing world and recognizing that there are powers beyond our control, it is how we struggle, successfully or not, to gain a footing.”
Though this is a classic script, there will be a few twists in this production. Instead of being set during the Elizabethan era, there will be no clear time frame. It will fit many different time periods, such as Victorian, 1960’s punk and WWII Bohemia.
Last year, Stille taught a Shakespeare class that went over some of the playwright’s most famous works. Analyzing the language and learning how to properly read what is written were some of the things discussed. The cast of Hamlet is evenly split between those who did and did not take the class.
“It paid off at audition for people who took theclass,” Stille said. “They were much more comfortable with the language, and it showed. It makes directing easier when people know how to work with this or any type of script. However, everyone gets individual time.”
Senior communications major Jessejames T. Collins said, “The great thing about working with Lee is that no matter how big or how small your part is, he gives you detailed instruction and personal time.”
Saturday is Drama Day for the Eastern Michigan University’s theatre department, and it includes a “Hamlet” production. During school productions, the script has to fit within certain time requirements. “Hamlet” in its entirety is about four hours long, so the script had to be cut down, which is normal.
“Im excited to see how the production ends up and how the audience receives it,” Stille said. “I hope that Shakespeare purists will be open to considering the choices we’ve made.”
Tickets can be purchased at the Quirk and Student Center box offices.