Hamlet: A Standing Ovation

If you think Hamlet is just a boring Shakespeare play with the stereotypical accents and dramatic hand gestures, you would be sorely mistaken.

The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark opened with a bang on Wednesday, Feb. 20. The production was presented by the Division of Theatre, Southern Methodist University, and The Sturdy Beggars.

The actors put a modern twist on the 16th-century play, which made the scenes much funnier and a bit easier to understand. Though the playbill forwarns that after only “…four weeks of rehearsal… we are ready to share our findings with you,” the actors proved an unsure audience of their impressive talent.

Hamlet Poster
Hamlet Poster provided by SMU Division of Theatre Photo credit: SMU Meadows

Three graduating MFA candidates, Aaron Campbell, Galen Sato, and Bradley Atuba, decided to throw the play together “to make their final, elusive marks” on the SMU stage. Six actors rotate through the same characters, which sounds confusing, but they pulled off a seamless transition.

I would strongly advise a refresher on the story of Hamlet before seeing the show, as the storyline could be quite confusing if you are seeing it for the first time. It’s also in Shakespearean English… so a quick SparkNotes review might alleviate some of the complexity.

The actors and the lone actress expressed a wide array of emotions throughout the play. There was screaming, whispering, weeping, or laughing in every scene.

The actors kept the audience’s attention for all 90 minutes. There are sound effects and props that get thrown around that help to bring drama and excitement into the performance.

I’m no Shakespearean expert, and I have not read his work since my high school AP English class. Regardless, this play was unexpectedly so much fun to watch. Brava!