A tragedy can be funny

Young­sters spin Shake­speare tragedy into 15-minute com­edy

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT - BY DE­SIREE AN­STEY

Lovers of Shake­speare’s art have a chance to catch a con­densed and light-hearted ver­sion of his tragedy, “Ham­let,” in var­i­ous public, out­door spa­ces in Sum­mer­side over the next few weeks.

Through­out the rest of Au­gust and Septem­ber, Mi­los Siml­culet will di­rect 15-minute “Ham­let” per­for­mances for the public to savour, all in sup­port of Spot­light School of Arts Inc.

The public per­for­mances of “Ham­let” will take place on Spin­nakers’ Land­ing and var­i­ous public parks around Sum­mer­side.

More in­for­ma­tion is avail­able at www.spot­lightschoolo­farts. com

Spot­light is a not-for-profit drama school, lo­cated on Wa­ter Street in Sum­mer­side, that of­fers theatre arts pro­grams in act­ing, mu­si­cal theatre, dance, im­pro­vi­sa­tion and vis­ual arts.

“I’m hop­ing that these short per­for­mances can help raise money for all the re­hearsal space that is rented by the Spot­light Play­ers,” ex­plained Siml­culet, who is just 13 years old. “We have a large red bucket … where peo­ple can do­nate.”

This ver­sion of “Ham­let,” adapted by Tom Stop­pard, is con­densed into 10 scenes and turns a dra­matic tragedy into a com­edy.

“The main plot is still the same,” noted Siml­culet. “Au­di­ences can ex­pect to see two pup­pets and all the com­edy parts of ‘Ham­let.’ ”

Sam Edg­comb, 15, will play the main char­ac­ter, Ham­let, the Prince of Den­mark.

“I try to find a rhythm when re­hears­ing lines, like how you re­mem­ber a song – you keep the beat go­ing,” said Edg­comb, who hopes the doors of act­ing will open as a full-time ca­reer for him.

“One of my favourite things to do when re­hears­ing is say­ing our lines at su­per speed, so you ba­si­cally have to shut your mind down and go into au­topi­lot. And it be­comes easy af­ter a while, and just flows like sec­ondary thought.”

Reasha Walsh, the ex­ec­u­tive director of Spot­light School of Arts Inc., says the school has started a new com­mu­nity theatre pro­gram de­signed to en­cour­age direc­tors and com­mu­nity theatre artists to do their own projects, while the drama school pro­duces them.

“Mi­los came to me sev­eral months ago with a pro­posal for a short per­for­mance, so we are pro­vid­ing the re­hearsal space for him and we do all the book­ings. This en­ables Mi­los to di­rect and cast this play. And the new pro­gram en­ables him – and any­one else – to do this in the com­mu­nity,” she said.

“We can pro­vide re­hearsal space, cos­tume sets, book the­atres and per­for­mances. And this is open to all age groups.”


Sam Edg­comb, left, is Ham­let in the 15-minute pro­duc­tions that will take place around Sum­mer­side as part of the new pro­gram by the Spot­light School of Arts Inc. He holds Yorick’s skull that serves as a sym­bol of death – an omen to come – for a key scene in the per­for­mance. Mi­los Siml­culet, on the right, is the director of the “Ham­let” play.

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