Monday, April 18, 2011

A Ghost Story

"Okay, I have to tell you about this teenager."

Some of these children are nervous about a near future in middle school, where teenagers roam hallways. Some of these children are in awe of teenagers because they've seen the telltale swagger of know-it-all-ness.

All of these children want to be teenagers because they associate those kids with power.

"So, this teenager is about eighteen and going to college. His college is far away in London, and he has to get there on a ship because his home is a castle in Denmark. That's right, a castle, because this teenager is a prince. His dad is King and his mom Queen."

Right, I wanna be that teenager.

"His name is Hamlet, and while he is at school he gets a letter from his mom saying, 'Dear Hamlet, you have to come home right away because your dad died. He was taking a nap in the garden and he died.' "

Whoa, seriously?

"I know, shocking. Hamlet whips home on a ship for the funeral and then the next day, like right after the funeral, his mom, Queen Gertrude, marries his Uncle Claudius. What is up with that?"

This is why I don't miss my acting career. I have a ready audience every week.

"Hamlet goes up to the roof of the castle to see his buddies Horatio and Marcellus and some other guys he hangs with. It's freezing cold and snowing because it's winter. Hamlet is already pretty freaked out by his mom's sudden wedding when Horatio says, "Well, man, you think that's wild, check this out: The other night a ghost showed up here and he looked like your dad, the king."

I stopped walking to and fro and we all took a deep breath together.

" 'A ghost? Are you for real?' Hamlet asks, and just then the ghost appears. He's super-tall with a crown on and carries a sword, and Hamlet can kinda see through it because it's a ghost, after all, and it does look like his dad."

Seriously, seriously?

"And the ghost does this with his hand" — I made a follow-me sign — "and Hamlet starts to go with the ghost. His friends shout, 'Don't, Hamlet, don't go! You don't know that could be evil....Please stay, Hamlet!' But Hamlet follows the ghost around a corner, and when they are alone, the ghost speaks. He says, 'I am your father, Hamlet, and I was murdered by your Uncle Claudius. He poured poison in my ear while I was taking a nap. You must kill him!' "

It is not, nor it cannot come to good.
Hamlet, Act I, Scene II

"Poor Hamlet. He's thinking, 'Criminy, I'm just a teenager. I can't be killing someone...but then again, that Uncle Claudius, what a creep he turned out to be...."

"Ms. Ryane?"

"Yes, Laci?

"Did this really happen?"

We could have been gathered at a campfire, a classroom, an auditorium or a theatre.

When I wanted revenge it was on my brother cause he stuck his tongue out at me and told my mom that I stuck my tongue out at him. So I wanted revenge but I still haven't got it. I am mad at that so I will get revenge one day.
—Bridget, 3rd grade

snow photo by Flick user Betty Olsen; Hamlet photo from Shakespeare Theatre Company

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