[PHOTO] Students Bring Contemporary Improvisation To Shakespeare’s Hamlet

CLARK — While Shakespearean language can pose a challenge for students, Arthur L. Johnson High School teacher Suzanne Hamilton finds that translating the language into modern English helps her students to better understand the text. When it comes to tackling difficult scenes, the students in Hamilton’s class work in small groups to create their own versions of that scene.

Students are encouraged to make the language more modern and to use colloquial language to communicate between characters. Students may change the names of the characters and the setting as well. This activity helps students to develop a stronger appreciation for Shakespeare’s content as they begin to master his language on their own terms.

Pictured above are students Eddie Olenick and Chris Purcell in costume as they act out a scene between Hamlet and the ghost of his deceased father. They have used the contemporary improvisation style to make the scene their own by including humorous props to engage their classmates. (Photo courtesy of Clark Public Schools)

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