‘Shattered Shakespeare’ reimagines ‘Hamlet’

by HANNAH NELSON//Staff Writer

Experience a classic tale with a twist and connect with familiar characters in a new way for a modern audience.

Students in the theater program at South Plains College will be performing the play, “Shattered Shakespeare,” which is a re-interpretation of “Hamlet,” for this fall. They will perform for the public Oct 20- Oct. 23, beginning at 7:30 p.m.. For the show on Oct. 24, the play will begin at 2 p.m.

For Dr. Dan Nazworth, it was time for him to bring Shakespeare to the SPC community.

“One of the problems with Shakespeare in a modern audience is that people have trouble connecting with it,” said Dr. Nazworth, assistant professor of theatre and chair person for the Fine Arts Department, who is serving as director.

The production will explain the pieces of “Hamlet,” helping the audience understand and grasp it better, according to Dr. Nazworth. Unlike the full “Hamlet” that continues for three hours, this rendition will be cut to an hour and 30 to 45 minutes.

“We are only following a couple of stories, instead of all five or six of them,” Dr. Nazworth says, “and it is just an experiment in what you need to understand the story.”

This dynamic within the production allows Dr. Nazworth to grow as a director and entertain the audience. He wants to show the audience that Shakespeare isn’t terrifying. In fact, it can be fun.

“There is a reason people have been doing his plays for 400 years,” said Dr. Nazworth. “It’s because they are better than a lot of stuff that is new.”

Dr. Nazworth puts his life into each semester’s play. He knows that each production is its own unique entity.

“If anybody ever asks me my favorite show, it’s usually the one I am working on because that is the one that is taking up all my life right now,” Dr. Nazworth explained. “It has everything. I have no hobbies.”

As a director, Dr. Nazworth also expects the play will help the student cast discover something new about themselves.

“A sense of discipline, a sense of what it means to be in theater,” he said of what the students get out of it.

For some actors and actresses, “Hamlet” is about connecting with characters.

“It is interesting learning the story behind the characters, because I really didn’t know a lot about “Hamlet” before we started this,” said Kasidee Young, who has the role of the queen.

The characters within the play have many levels within them. This allows the actors and actresses to connect and play their role in an established way.

“There are aspects in all the characters that you can pick out,” says Tino Cantrell, who plays Laertes.

For those involved in the play, “Hamlet” is all about confidence as well. It relies on the ability for a performer to have the confidence to step out on stage, become a character and grow with the character.

“It is such a riveting experience to see everyone grow more comfortable with themselves, and grow deeper into their confidence,” explained London Vasquez, who plays Ophelia. “You can see it through the way they are expressing their character.”

No matter how antiquated Shakespeare seems, there are still many things modern audiences can relate to.

“The aspects of love are still pretty much the same,” said Cantrell. “You’re passionate. You’re willing to fight for who you love.”

However, through the entire process of this production, a major goal is allowing the audience to connect with “Hamlet.”

“I hope the people that have never seen “Hamlet” before, or have been confused about it in the past, leave with a better understanding,” Young said. “The ones who are fans of “Hamlet” and Shakespeare’s work seeing a different view of the inside of our character.”

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