By Greg Bowman
GREEN OAK TOWNSHIP (WWJ) – Can today’s teens still relate to “Hamlet,” a play which was written by Shakespeare over 500 years ago?
The answer is a resounding yes, according to local playwright Anne Levy.
She’s directing a cast of local kids at The Phoenix Players starting this weekend in her own take on Shakespeare, called “Hamlet Lite.” Levy was surprised at how quickly the kids picked up and understood what Shakespeare was saying.
“They had a one week workshop this summer by someone who teaches Shakespeare,” said Levy. “And once they understood a few key things about Shakespeare, and the language, they could easily get into the ideas. And they walk around saying these things and understanding these things like they have learned another language.”
Levy has retained much of the original language, but has lightened things up by making it a comedy, introducing other characters like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty to make it fun for the actors and the audience.
The play also has a serious message, centering on Hamlet’s famous “To be or not to be” speech, where the character contemplates suicide. During rehearsals, Levy learned that nearly all of the teens knew someone who had thought about suicide or actually done it.
“Everyone of them knew someone who had gone through this kind of depression,” Levy said. “And they wanted to know why they would do it. So, 500 years later, everyone in the room knew what Shakespeare was talking about. And I think it was very cathartic for them.”
“Hamlet Lite” runs Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through Nov. 24 at the Phoenix Players in Green Oak Township.
Get the details HERE.