Posted: Monday, March 26, 2001

KCHS students hold audience's attention with great performance

My daughter was cast in three small roles in the play "Hamlet" at Kenai Central High School, so naturally I attended the play.

Frankly, I wasn't expecting much. This was, after all, Shakespeare, and these were high schoolers, many of whom, I knew, had little or no stage experience.

I have been involved in the performing arts since childhood and had too often seen Shakespeare recited in a monotone or singsong voice by people who obviously had no understanding of the language, era or context. In addition, I was familiar with the play "Hamlet" and knew that the memorization of the lines would be a daunting task in itself.

What a surprise lay in store for me! From the lead players to the smallest supporting role, every actor had his or her lines down. All of these lines could be heard and were smoothly delivered with excellent expression. It was obvious that the performers were directed by someone who had an extensive knowledge of Shakespeare and had taken the time to impart that knowledge to the students.

In keeping with the era, there was minimal use of special effects, yet from start to finish the play held not only my attention but also that of my 11-year-old son.

Kudos to director Gweni Hurd and the cast and crew who stayed the course even when things got tough. My daughter had a wonderful time and grew in ways that went beyond the area of acting. From the costumes to the lovely music between the scenes, the performance was professionally done.

"The play's the thing," says Hamlet. Indeed, for in the hands of a very talented director, this play brought out the best in a fine group of kids and enriched the lives of those of us who attended. I hope that our community can look forward to more performances of this caliber. Many thanks!

Lori Uponen


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