The play’s the thing!

With Kentucky Shakespeare back at the PAC later this month, it bears repeating that Shakespeare wrote his plays as entertainment – to be performed, not read.  So this month’s blog (with a little help from Shakespeare for Dummies) is designed to help you get the most from their Friday, March 27 performance of Hamlet:

  • Unlike modern plays, Hamlet is hundreds of years old, and most everyone already knows how it ends.  The fun is in seeing how the tale is told.  So do yourself a favor and read a summary of the play before attending.
  • Even though Hamlet takes place in Denmark, it is left up to the director and design team to interpret what their Denmark will be.  The production may be historically accurate, or maybe the story will be told in a modern setting.
  • The first thing you should do when the play begins is to determine who’s who.  If you know the major characters, try to find them onstage.  You should be able to spot the king and queen, for example, from the way they dress, act, and interact with the other characters.
  • Check the program to see which actors are playing multiple roles.  Kentucky Shakespeare usually tours with a smaller number of actors than their shows in the park each summer so you can be sure that most of them will play more than one role.  Usually, the setting and costumes tell you which character the actor portrays in each scene, but knowing beforehand can help, too.
  • Yes, the actors are speaking English, it’s just very old English.  Be patient and try to pick up on the emotion behind the words instead of the words themselves.  After a bit, you may find that you start to recognize a few words here and there, but even if you don’t, if the actors and direction are skilled, you should be able to follow most of the plot.
  • Hamlet is one of Shakespeare’s longest plays, but don’t panic, Kentucky Shakespeare has whittled the running time for their production down to ninety minutes while retaining time-honored quotes and pivotal moments.

So read up before you go, study your program when you arrive and watch and listen intently and above all else, enjoy the show. It’ll all be well worth the minimal prep on your part.  After all, all’s well that ends well – unless your name is Hamlet.

Alyssa in CHHS 2019 production of The Laramie Project.

This month the PAC Kid Spotlight recognizes Central Hardin High School’s Alyssa Vittitow, who will be performing in their production of Little Women at the PAC this month.  Learn more about Alyssa and our other PAC Kids.