‘Hamlet’ comes to life on stage in front of students

By Megan Ruge Asst. living and arts editor

The Susquehanna Department of Theatre will present the National Players in “Hamlet” on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Degenstein Campus Center theater.

“Hamlet” is about the prince of Denmark who returns home from school to find out that his father has died, his mother has remarried, and his uncle—who is now his step-father—is ruling the country.

When his father’s ghost appears to him and delivers dire news, he must reevaluate his life and how to move forward with the new knowledge.

The group performing the play is the National Players. According to the National Players’ website, they are America’s longest running touring company, based in Montgomery County, Maryland at the Olney Theatre Center. They were founded in 1949 and have performed 67 complete tours.

“The National Players are the educational wing of the Olney Theatre in Maryland,” said Doug Powers, associate professor of theater.

Susquehanna’s theater department has made part of its mission to expose students to Shakespeare at some point in their college career. Though it is usually through self-performance, Powers said seeing a Shakespeare piece onstage would give students a different perspective.

“We like to expose our students on stage to Shakespeare about every four years, but this is a play that’s really difficult to do at the college level, so I was attracted to it that way. I thought it would be a way for students to see it in performance and kind of round out their education,” he said.

Many students also believe this performance is important to the community.

“Having companies such as the National Players come here connects us to the greater community and helps put us further into the professional world,” sophomore theater major Rachel Heide said.

“As far as the theater department, watching companies such as the National Players perform forces us to greater cultivate our craft. They help us strive to do better and therefore become better artists,” she added.

Faculty involved in the event expect a good turnout, especially from Susquehanna students. A lot of buzz has been recently generated about the upcoming performance.

“I heard some people saying ‘I can’t wait for Hamlet; I can’t wait to get my tickets,’ so I think this will draw across the board for all students at Susquehanna,” Powers said.

“Shakespeare has his detractors; people think he’s overdone or over-studied,” Powers added. “They think there are works from the same time period that are worthy of study, but I think Shakespeare’s reputation is pretty solidly in place.”

“Just being exposed to the language of one of the greatest writers of the English language and one of the most brilliant minds in theater is important,” Powers said.

Powers added he hopes everyone who attends the play takes away an unforgettable experience.

“I hope the community and the students feel moved and feel the obsession of Hamlet and the passion of Hamlet. I think it’s a great tie into our university theme this year,” he said.

Tickets for the performance are free for Susquehanna students, $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and $5 for non-Susquehanna students. They are available at the box office in Degenstein Campus Center.

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