One of the longest running and most highly acclaimed live theaters in South Florida, GableStage, brought Hamlet to life on Wednesday, March 6th, at Miami Lakes Educational Center. The play is one of Shakespeare’s most loved and well-known tragedies.
But this production was—different. The GableStage adaptation, titled AKA Hamlet, brought the 400-year-old play into the 21st century.
The original Hamlet is about a man that seeks revenge after his father’s death. Hamlet faces other challenges, such as his mother remarrying (his uncle!) and his complicated relationship with Ophelia. AKA Hamlet takes the classic scenes and interrupts them, breaking the fourth wall and speaking with—and to—the audience, incorporating monologues that relate the story to younger generations.
“They all have many conflicts just like us,” said Charles Sothers, the actor who played Hamlet. “Whether it’s a boyfriend or girlfriend, or friends, or death, we can all relate to it.”
The actors themselves expressed why they, and their director, Phillip M. Church, enjoy performing the play to high schoolers: teenagers can relate to Hamlet, to his struggles, to his suffering.
“We can all relate to trusting a friend, and it turns out that they’re untrustworthy,” said Erynn Chapman, who played Ophelia. “And we end up fighting these situations with all different sorts of violence.”
After the play was over, the actors took a few questions from our MLEC students. One of those questions was over the interpretation of the death of Ophelia.
“I feel like she slips accidentally but I don’t think she fights the drowning,” said Chapman. “You don’t have to accept it as suicide or accidental. It takes us back to childhood and our own imagination and interpretation,” said Sothers, who stresses that it allows viewers, and readers, to decide for themselves or, at least, to grapple with the possibilities.
Jaguars agreed with the cast and crew, finding that AKA Hamlet applied to their own lives and found interest in the plot and its relevance.
“I really liked the play, specifically the message,” said sophomore Jeslyne Poveda. “It showed that revenge is not the right thing to do no matter what the situation is.”
Even students that never read Hamlet enjoyed the play, and they found it to be interesting and enjoyable.
“The play itself was good and it was actually easier to understand,” said sophomore Johanna Figueroa. “I haven’t read Hamlet, but it was easy to follow along.”
Besides the play itself, people were also intrigued by the changes that the GableStage production made to the set design, modernizing the play.
“It was very interesting to see how they incorporated technology into Shakespeare,” said Poveda. “That’s something I would’ve never thought about but it works really well together.”
This twist on Hamlet brought to light the message of violence and pain, and listening to others to avoid such irrational acts.
“It’s about violence and feud. Who is justified and where does it end,” said Sothers. “In Shakespeare, you see these things that you see now. You are touched by suicide and unrequited love.”
Source:: The Harbinger