Tulsa High School Theatre Group Tackles the Challenge of “Hamlet”


Friday, November 19th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


A Tulsa high school theatre group is tackling one of the greatest tragedies ever written. Booker T. Washington's production of Shakespeare's Hamlet opened Friday night at the Performing Arts Center.

In theatre and in literature, Hamlet is unrivaled. Its lines include some of the greatest scenes ever written. Famous phrases over three centuries old, are now a part of every day language and understanding. Hamlet has challenged the best actors of all time, so it's rare for a high school to undertake it. But this year, Booker T. Washington's Theatre instructor saw students ready to take on the great giant. "I've wanted to do Hamlet for a long time, but I've had to watch my classes, my student population, to see if potential was there,” said Barbara Wilson. “It just happened that this year, everything fell into place.”

Senior Oliver White has been studying the role of Hamlet since he was cast last summer. He says the most difficult challenge is balancing the emotions of playing Hamlet with the other emotions in his life. "You start applying the lines of Hamlet to your every day life and how you view yourself,” noted White. “And you wonder if his crises with reality are yours?”

Junior Jeremy Davis is learning what not to be through playing King Claudius, a character Davis finds evil and conniving. He's proud of Booker T's effort. "Usually, high schools don't do tragedies for Shakespeare, or any tragedies for that matter,” said Davis. “They tend to stick with comedies. So this is quite an endeavor for a high school, but I think we're pulling it off quite well."

Wilson praises her entire cast, many of whom she's had in class for four years.
She says they've all grown from studying the countless meanings in this Shakespeare tragedy. And as all the world's a stage, the lessons learned on this one will serve these young actors for years to come. Booker T's production of Hamlet runs Friday through Sunday in the Liddy Doenges Theatre at the PAC. The pre-show begins at 7:15 PM.