01.03.2024 – Die Dreizehntklässler*innen der Beruflichen Gymnasien erlebten vor kurzem gelebte Geschichte auf “den Brettern, die die Welt bedeuten”.  Nachdem die Englisch-Leistungskurse im letzten Jahr im Rahmen der Schulkinowochen “The Hate U Give” gesehen und dabei Themen wie police brutality, discrimination und the American Dream behandelt hatten, kam schnell der Wunsch auf, auch ein Theaterstück zu besuchen.

In der 13. Klasse konnte dieser Wunsch letztlich verwirklicht werden. Anke Autzen, eine der LK-Lehrerinnen, fragte kurzerhand bei der American Drama Group an, ob diese nicht nach Cloppenburg kommen könnte. Die reisende Theatergruppe stimmte zu, woraufhin Frau Autzen auch andere Schulen aus dem Cloppenburger Raum einlud. Gezeigt wurde “Hamlet” – eins der bekanntesten Werke aus William Shakespeares Feder. Dieses Werk ist zudem eins der Pflichtmaterialien für das Abitur 2024, weshalb viele Schüler*innen voller Vorfreude dem Theaterstück entgegensahen. Denn wie sie wissen, sind Shakespeares Werke nicht für das Lesen gemacht, sondern für das Theater!

Schulübergreifend war der Tenor eindeutig: Die Sprache Shakespeares war anspruchsvoll. Aber sie wurde von den Darsteller*innen so lebendig und zugänglich interpretiert, dass alle die emotionale Wucht der Worte spürten. Die Möglichkeit, Shakespeares Hamlet live zu erleben, stellte somit für die angehenden Abiturient*innen ein ganz besonderes Erlebnis dar!

Oder um es mit Worten zweier Schülerinnen zu sagen:

Review of the play from Jessica Kosuga & Karolina Jablonska

The theatre play deals with one of the most popular pieces of literature from Shakespeare, „Hamlet“, which is a tragedy that tells the story of Prince Hamlet of Denmark, who tries to seek revenge for his father’s murder. The play deals with a lot of themes like mortality, madness, and the complexity of human nature. The production from February 14 was directed by Paul Stebbing and the main characters were played by Rhys Anderson (Hamlet), Emma Nihill Alcorta (Ophelia), lan Fletcher (Claudius) and Adam Pentland (Horatio). The stage was very minimalistic, just like it was in Shakespeare’s time. They used a lot of light effects, had only few objects like a cup and the famous skull to act with. In the middle of the stage was a (wooden half bridge) and to sum everything up they embellished it with live music played by the actors in the background, but the actors were also singing. The whole play lasted 90 minutes and the actors spoke exactly the same way like the characters in „Hamlet“.

The actor’s performance was really professional. No additional items were necessary as the actors alone represented the piece brilliantly. They sang themselves during the play or in the background. In addition, they also played instruments when there was an intense scene, which could be observed as they stood behind their workmates who were acting at this moment. Also, their body language was excellent and impressive. It helped to understand the play much better since they performed it in early modern English, but you could also identify the emotions of every character better and you were also able to analyze for example the intentions or feelings of the characters.

Some of the actors did have more than one role. The best example here is Adam Pentland, who played Horatio, a grave digger and a theatre actor (one of the traveling players). It should not be forgotten that he also played the instruments. Their acting skills were magnificent so you may have forgotten about the entire world. Your focus was only on the play „Hamlet“ with the actors. It did wake up so many emotions. The audience could cry, laugh, feel fear or be shocked and that all could happen in just 90 minutes. Substantial were also the „fighting skills“ from Rhys Anderson and Rian Wunderlind (Laertes) during the last scene where Laertes and Hamlet were fighting with swords. Through things like this you can see how much effort everyone put into this play. Time for the preparation should also be taken into account. They had two weeks to create this, and the results were incredible.

The limited time was also the reason why they left out a few scenes, since the original play was about 3 hours long, while the performance that we watched took only 90 minutes. Through the interview with the cast we got to know that they left out all of the scenes that were not important for the development of the plot. An example for those scenes is act 2 scene 2, where Hamlet’s friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are introduced in the original play. Both characters were therefore not part of the theater performance, which is probably because of the limited time and the few actors. As we mentioned before, a lot of actors had to play more than just one role and two new characters would have made this even more difficult for them, since there were scenes were they all already were on stage. This would have probably also been confusing for the audience if they saw one actor playing even more characters. Other than that, both characters are also side characters and therefore not crucial for the plot.

A huge factor in the plot is Hamlet’s behaviour, which the characters in the play interpreted as madness. At a certain point they even believed that it was because he was lovesick. But in the beginning, it just seemed to be Hamlet’s reaction to finding out that his father got murdered by his uncle, who then married his mother. So, while he seems mad to the characters in the play, it looked calculated and strategic to the audience. Especially since he said at the end of the soliloquy in act 1 scene 2:“But break my heart, for I must hold my tongue“. However, throughout the play his actions, like his violent outbursts, leave the audience also wondering about his sanity. Ultimately the question if Hamlet is really mad is open to interpretation for the audience because it never gets confirmed or denied in the play.

All in all, the storyline and especially the performance were absolutely incredible. The story itself was interesting but the actual acting brought the characters to life and made it even more fascinating! You could really see all the effort that the actors put into the production of this play, which made this an amazing experience that we can highly recommend.

Bild 1: Das Programmheft zu Shakespeare’s Hamlet im Vorraum der Stadthalle, in welcher der LK von Anke Autzen für Getränke sorgte

Bild 2: Schüler*innen der BBS am Museumsdorf, der BBS Friesoythe, des CAGs aus Cloppenburg, des AMGs aus Friesoythe, des ULF aus Cloppenburg, der HLA Lohne, des Copernicus Gymnasiums aus Löningen, der Justus-Liebig Schule aus Vechta und der IGS Moormerland in der Stadthalle Cloppenburg vor Beginn der Aufführung.