Teens take a shine to Shakespeare
‘‘To die, to sleep – to sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub, for in this sleep of death what dreams may come.’’
What’s all that about? Well, they say this guy called Shakespeare wrote it. And he also wrote this play called Hamlet, and apparently it’s all very meaningful and stuff.
But why should that matter? He’s like really old, like 400-years-old. #whocares.
But apparently, they still teach this old writer dude in schools and coerce the country’s youth into acting his stuff out.
But get this, the children love it. Teenagers these days!
A group of Marlborough students will take their talents to Wellington this weekend for the University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival.
Turns out, they even understand most of what they’re saying.
‘‘The old language may be hard to understand nowadays for most people,’’ said Aimee O’hagan, who took out the 15-minute regional with a piece from Taming of the Shrew, directed by and starring O’hagan and Libby Holdaway.
‘‘But a lot of what he talked about – the concepts, the themes and all – they can all be understood in a modern-day sense. For example, Libby and I are doing Taming of the Shrew, which is about a man who wants to marry a girl for money.
‘‘Nowadays, a man might think of it as a man wanting a girl for sex. We’ve modernised ours; our version is set in a bar, and I am a sleazy bartender hitting on a girl. And I think lots of people can relate to that.’’
Lilah Bowers said if Shakespeare was on Facebook, or Instagram, he would probably write about the social politics of being online.
‘‘Shakespeare often highlights human conflict and back-stabbing. Reading his work, you can learn a lot. You see that bullying happens today at schools and on social media. There are strong words in there that follow through today that others could just take straight from his works into right now.’’
Bowers was commended in the annual costume design competition, while fellow Marlborough Girls’ College student Ghananta Duppati was a finalist in the static image competition.
Other Marlborough students involved this year include Amelia Newman-woods, who was selected at the Marlborough regionals for the Shakespeare Globe Centre NZ’S weeklong intensive programme in Dunedin in October.
Marlborough Boys’ College’s 5-minute scene from Two Gentlemen of Verona, directed by students Justin Cook and Kodi Rasmussen, would be performed in Wellington.
‘‘I guess one of the main points behind it, is what we would do for love as humans ... That hasn’t changed,’’ Cook said.
‘‘And from a father’s point of view, being very protective of your daughter. Human nature doesn’t change much.’’
Newman-woods said of her contemporary interpretation of Twelfth Night, that it was all about the money, and a little bit of love.
‘‘I play a CEO of a modelling agency and I fall in love with a model, who is an intern at the company. And she shouldn’t have fallen in love with him. She is from a different socio-economic class.
‘‘And I think, even now, there is a big divide between people because of the socio-economic conditions they have – rich and poor – and some people are frowned upon because of how much they earn and are also criticised about who they love because of how much they have or don’t have.’’
So, there you have it. Human nature hasn’t changed much, and the topics the students are tackling all have their place in this modern world – money, sex, power and a bit of mean gossip.