Friday, February 22, 2013

Alum to guest-direct unordinary adaptation of ‘Hamlet’

By Brendan Cahill
Cardinal Staff

Saint Mary’s alum Ann Keen guest-directs an unordinary adaptation of Hamlet that draws on modern day experiences, which will be performed April 4-7 in the Page Theatre.

“Putting all rumors to rest, it is not quite rock ’n’ roll Hamlet and there are only a few elements of American Idol,” said Keen. 

Keen said this adaptation of Hamlet is based on the struggles of a broken famous family that is always in the spotlight.  Some thrive while others just want to be left alone.  For example, Hamlet wanted to be left alone with his grief instead of putting on a happy face as his mother was treating husbands “like Kleenex: soft, strong and disposable.” 

This adaptation was performed quite successfully in Chicago.  However, the Page Theatre presents a bit of a challenge for Keen.  She now has more space and many different items at her disposal, which she did not previously have.

"I am mightily impressed...and am excited for the whole school to see just how talented they are."

“I was not used to having actors who still have busy academic days to take into account before the rehearsal,” Keen said.  “I am mightily impressed with each and every person in the cast and am excited for the whole school to see just how talented they are.”

Keen’s adaptation is more relatable for the present times, since people don’t await entertainment from an acting troupe.  “It is much less common in present day, whereas in the time of Shakespeare it was much more prevalent,” said Keen.  “So instead of a traveling acting troupe coming to town to put on a play before the king, there is a song being preformed before the king. This is in hope that the audience would find it much easier to relate to than a play in Shakespearian English.” 

In addition to the unordinary adaptation, Keen hinted that there will also be a lot surprises for the audience.

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