Harwich Junior Theatre has toured many productions to schools, libraries and museums over the years. Please call if you would like us to schedule a performance for you! 508-432-2002 x 17.
Folk Concerts for Children Kathleen Healy has delighted Cape Cod Audiences of all ages for the past 6 years with her own brand of family entertainment. Her repertoire includes American folk music, such as “This Land is Your Land” and “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” children’s classics such as “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “Old MacDonald,” as well as many of her own original songs for children and adults
Tamsen Donner; A Woman’s Journey This is a powerful and moving portrayal of a pioneer woman’s adventure of heroic and tragic proportions. Tamsen traverses a new America during the westward expansion of 1846. This is a compelling 50 minute presentation with a follow-up discussion that fits into the American History and Literature components of the Massachusetts Department of education Curriculum frameworks. Click here for more information. Adapted from Ruth Whitman’s book by Nina Schuessler and Tamara Harper.
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“Hamlet” takes the popular form of “Revenge Tragedy” and reduces it to its most basic elements” Joseph Papp.
We have reduced the play even further. Gone are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Fortinbras, and even Horatio. We have focused on the families involved. Hamlet- Son, King Claudius- Step-Father, Queen Gertrude- Mother, and the ghost of Hamlet’s Father Then; Polonius- Prime Minister/Father of :Ophelia-daughter, and Laertes- son.
The play begins months after Hamlet’s father’s death. Claudius, Hamlets Uncle, has taken the throne and married Hamlet’s mother. This puts Hamlet into a profound despair but through the intervention of the ghost, Hamlet learns the truth behind his Fathers death. Claudius is a fratricidal murderer. What does Hamlet do now? Does he revenge the murder, or not? In the course of the play Hamlet goes “mad”, mistakenly kills Polonius, and is banished to England. Ophelia is driven to suicide, and alerted returns to court to seek revenge. The marriage between Gertrude and Claudius begins to unravel. Everything culminates in a duel between Laertes and Hamlet. This brings the tragedy to its bloody conclusion.
How do you put on Hamlet with only 3 actors?
First we took the play and reduced it to the bare minimum of characters. The actor who’s playing Hamlet (Billy Hough) only plays Hamlet so the audience can easily follow his story. The other actors play many parts and switching between characters happens quickly with small but obvious changes of costume. James P. Byrne plays the five characters of Claudius, Polonius, The Ghost, Player 2, and the Gravedigger. Emily Murray plays the other four characters, which include Gertrude, Ophelia, Player 1, and Laertes. King Claudius and Queen Gertrude wear crowns plus a change of jacket for the king and a shirt for the queen. Polonius wears a green jacket and glasses and Ophelia has a blue scarf. These characters are seen many times throughout the play, an actor can walk off stage as one character and immediately enter as another. The Ghost wears a mask and a black cape; he also only speaks through the television so we never hear his voice come from the actor on stage. The Players wear masks plus blue capes and are very big in their movements. Emily is the only actor who has to change gender. Laertes has pants and all of the female characters wear a skirt. The gravedigger is the only lower class citizen we see in this version of Hamlet. He has a cockney accent and rolled up sleeves plus he is digging a grave which none of the other characters would ever do.
With only 3 actors there are some moments that get a little tricky and the challenge of changing characters builds throughout the play. Many of the costume changes happen back stage but some of the most exciting happen on stage. The final scene of the play must have 4 characters so Emily switches from the Queen to Laertes many times in front of the audience by simply removing and replacing the Queens crown. By this time in the play the audience has had time to get used to the fast paced, quick changing show that culminates in an exciting explosion at the end.
Harwich Junior Theater will bring any of our current touring productions directly to your school. The performances vary in length and can be adapted to fit into an assembly or class period. Please call Tamara Harper at 508-432-2002 x17 for further information or to book a performance.