Here is the student debrief for our recent production of Hamlet, Prince of Somewhere Cold. If you’re thinking about putting on a Shakespeare play, or if you’re despairing in a current production, read this. Call it, a message from beyond the black hole…
Hamlet Prince of Denmark Debrief January 29, 2015
For anyone interested, here is the actual transcript of the players debriefing about the disaster that happened to their Hamlet, Prince of Denmark play on January 24, 2014.
In 1532 a philosopher poet diplomat named Machiavelli who lived during the Italian Renaissance published a little book called The Prince. This was about 30 years before Shakespeare was born. In it, he describes the arts by which a Prince, can retain control of his realm. He focuses primarily on what he calls the “new prince”, under the assumption that a hereditary prince has an easier task since the people are accustomed to him. All a hereditary prince needs to do is carefully maintain the institutions that the people are used to; a new prince has a much more difficult task since he must stabilize his newfound power and build a structure that will endure. This task requires the Prince to be publicly above reproach but privately may require him to do immoral things in order to achieve his goals.
Here are some insights my students came up on their own with from The Tempest. I haven’t shared their names, but will when I get permission. Great job!
Making the best of a bad situation
It’s in human nature to make the best of a bad situation, as many do in The Tempest. What comes of it depends on the way you go about achieving it. Two groups of characters in The Tempest show two different approaches: The first group, Stephano, Trinculo, Antonio, and Sebastian, goes about it in a way that exploits others for their own personal gain, while the second group, Prospero, Ferdinand and Gonzalo goes about in a different way. They change their perspective on things. It turns out, making the best of a bad situation does not necessarily have anything to do with changing things.