Hamlet Then and Now

I love when I get the chance to see how much I’ve learned over time.

Freshman year of high school I read Hamlet for English class. In fact, part of how I ended up blogging was due to the fact that our homework for this class included creating a blog to post about scenes in Hamlet.

Now five years later, my coursework for my college English class is again to read Hamlet. It’s crazy to think it’s been five years already… In that time I also performed a fifteen-minute version of Hamlet for a one-act play competition and have read and seen much more Shakespeare in general. Needless to say, I’m much more confident in my reading comprehension in terms of Shakespeare. I also didn’t realize until this class just how much experience I’ve had with interpreting Shakespeare between reading, performing, and spectating shows over the years compared to most students. There are around nine shows I consider myself fairly familiar to extremely familiar with, which is still only a handful of his works, but most of my class only knows one or so shows and only kind of sort of at that.

I’ve only read Act 1 of Hamlet so far this time around but it’s kind of cool to get to reread something you read so long ago and notice how much easier it is to interpret what is going on. I also extremely enjoyed rereading my blog posts about Act 1 from my original blog. Honestly, I surprised myself by actually being intrigued by some of my thoughts as a freshman reading Hamlet; though I also did a great deal of laughing especially with how in these old posts I didn’t specify prompts, thus some of the posts when I speak as if I’m a character in the play sound quite odd in context.

I’m excited to continue reading and reflecting on Hamlet and my old blog posts about Hamlet because it’s really cool to literally be able to see change over time as I also have to post in my current class’ online forum. I so often find myself grateful for the Hamlet blogging assignment I was given so many years ago. A blog truly is a great way to capture and share learning progress.

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Competition

So we had our one act play competition today at Galloway, and it was really fun! As far as the competition itself goes, it is hard because everyone has a different perspective. We hadn’t actually done the entire play without stopping and with everything before we preformed, but it ended up being great and the audience seemed to love it because they were laughing like crazy and afterwards people said we did really well. However, the judges thought “it wasn’t serious enough”. (The schools that got 1st and 2nd were about a camp for children with fatal diseases and Martin Luther King JR. in jail, and then the other school left besides us did the first act of a two act play about ancient mythology thrown together, so it didn’t make much sense, just to give some perspective of the other schools.)

The play was 15 Minute Hamlet, so the point was that we were clowns and it was meant to be funny and fast and discombobulated, but that wasn’t the style the judges liked. Mr. Taylor just threw the notes and scores out in the end. (We had two 60s and a 76 if you wanted to know anyway.)

Whatever though. We did great, the audience liked us, we had fun, and we made knew friends so BLAH TO JUDGING!!!!

To quote my favorite movie:

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People like different things. That’s just life.

The competition isn’t about “who comes in first” it is about getting the experience of seeing a bunch of high school theater and meeting other people who love the theater as much as you do, so overall it was still great! My director is always saying how he wishes it was more about that experience, and I think school can be like this at times too. Even with DEEP (the design thinking process we use), lately it seems that the typical student population is more focused on the steps rather than the experiences you get from the steps. This could be a false assumption, but I make it because I haven’t heard of many students talking with professionals, or going on trips to learn more about what they are passionate about, or talking to people to develop empathy for an actual user. When I do these things I talk about them a ton, so it seems logical that others would too, and if they aren’t, why not? (But that is slightly a different topic.)

At COI last year we talked about global competitiveness and how competition really drives collaboration as well. With COI this year this idea came up again when we talked about how a creative thinker needs to be okay with letting go of ideas and not claiming them as their own. If you have an idea, sure it might be good, but once a few other people brainstorming more and collaborating with you on the idea, it can grow to be fantastic! It is also important to find people with different ideas, because if you talk to someone with the same ideas as you, you likely won’t think of anything new. The really great ideas come from connections between two seemingly different ideas.

This is why I believe competition should be about the experience over the “who wins”, because even if you don’t win, you will still take away something from the engagement with other people with different ideas on similar topics.

Fantastic!

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I Today was kind of fantastic!

GOT TO GO TO BAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I finally got to go to band for the first time in forever and I absolutely loved being able to play with the upper schoolers since the pieces are much more challenging for me. I also got to experience the other math class, (which I think I like better than my own actually because there a lot of people I like to compete with in that class), and I’m actually now ahead of my own class.

After school, we had a run through of 15 Minute Hamlet because the one act play competition is Saturday and we need to make sure we are still prepared for that. But before then, we have Mort this week!!!!!! Tomorrow is preview night and I have to keep saying it so I can process that this is actually happening! The production should be pretty awesome and we are all super excited! Today we did a nice run through of act 2, so hopefully we are prepared for tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

Then after all of that, I still had acro as well as teaching some of the younger team girls their routines. (That’s right, I was a teacher and student for gymnastics.) I really love choreographing floor routines. It is just so much fun! The best part though is when I teach a girl their routine and they love it too. I think I can relate to teachers at school well because I teach children too. The proud feeling you get when your student makes an accomplishment is beyond words. One of the girls I was teaching today liked her routine so much that she stayed over an hour after her practice was done so she could keep working on it (her sister had to stay anyway, so her parents were okay with leaving and coming back later). This girl typically takes a while to learn routines and when she does they are usually pretty sloppy at first and she doesn’t always simile, but she learned it in 30 minutes and was smiling the whole time and looked like a gymnasts too! It was pretty great. I try to create the routines and music specific to different girls, so I’m always glad when I know that I made a good decision with routines. Being a teacher is a hard job that way; it is hard to always teach in a way that is best to a particular student.

We are all teachers and students. As a teacher I am proud of my students, and as a student, I am proud of my teachers.

The Table is Full

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School from nine to ten

Mort is the name of the play

Next week is the show

Mort is the most elaborate production we have put on at MVPS in 5 years at least (that is how long our director has been at the school) and if we can pull everything together it should be amazing! I know we can do it,we just have to do our very best! Today was the first time we went through it all, plus we had all of our costume, sound, and light cues to accompany it. It was an intense and long day of rehearsal, and we did pretty good. Things were falling together and it was spectacular! The show is based on Terry Pratchett’s book Mort which is about a young boy named Mort who finally gets apprenticed off at the hiring fair this year, and he is chosen by none other than Death himself. Now unlike what you may thing, Death does not kill people; people kill people, disease kills people, Death takes over from then on by ushering the souls into the next world. While learning from Death, Mort goes on an epic adventure after falling in love with Princess Keli (that’s me!) and ultimately messing up history by killing her assassin. To try and correct what he started, Mort must team up with Death’s daughter, Ysabell, and a powerful and ancient wizard, Albert. Mort sees the world and time itself from a whole new perspective, and in this play we take the audience on this journey with him complete with witches, wizards, princes and princesses, high priest, partying towns people, magic, battles, and the struggle of time.

Tuesday is preview night and then Wednesday through Friday are show nights as well; then on top of that we have our one act play competition where we will be preforming 15 Minute Hamlet, this next Saturday. To make matters more intense, I also am messing with my schedule Monday and Tuesday for band, and then again Friday when we have COI all day. Next week is going to be crazy fun!

That is the Question; What is the Choice?

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Asking questions is really important, but lately I’ve been discovering that it isn’t just about the questions you ask, it is about the choices you make because of questions. A single choice can change a life, but that life isn’t just composed of one choice; a persons character is built from all of the big and little choices that person makes through out a life time.

Lately I have been quoting Hamlet often because we are putting on the production of 15 Minute Hamlet so I’ve become even more familiar with it. One of the most famous quotes from Hamlet is, “To be or not to be / that is the question.” Hamlet is contemplating on killing himself or not, but him just asking the question doesn’t say a ton about his character besides inferencing that he ponders these things so he must be going through difficult times. What defines Hamlet is that he makes the choice to not kill himself and instead he fights to discover the truth about the king’s murder in order to bring justice to his father. Hamlet is courageous enough to keep fighting even if things are getting difficult in his life, he is cleaver enough to plan a scheme to discover the couscous of the new king, his uncle, and he is audacious enough to challenge his mothers loyalty. Hamlet had to make the choices to fight, to scheme, and to challenge when he could have just as easily have made the choices to do nothing and let his questions go unanswered.

Life is full of questions. Questions propose choices. What you make of those choices is what defines you as a person, so try to make good choices, but when you find yourself not making the best decision, choose to learn and grow from it. Our failures tell our story just as much as our successes do.