Teens take a shine to Shake­speare

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

‘‘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.

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