To be or not to be? Hamlet’s coming to JU

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Photo by Grace Singer

If you have never taken a literature class and are wondering about the skulls around campus, well, one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays “Hamlet” is coming to Jacksonville University starting April 7 at the Swisher Theater.

The man behind the skulls, Derek Ford, is responsible for the publicity of the show. A management marketing major, one of Ford’s classes requires him to work 90 hours towards the show during the spring semester.

“It is a combination of publicity work, and any other stuff that I may be assigned that has to do with ‘Hamlet’”, Ford said. “It gives me experience to be in charge of, I guess, a marketing campaign or some other organization or firm that needs a marketing job done.”

However, for Ford it is much more than taking the job as a requirement. After putting in all those hours of hard work, he is excited for a lot of different things on the show he describes as being a bit “unorthodox.”

“My goal is to have a full house on opening night because it’s my intention to have some type of publicity for the opening of the show,” he said. “Also we have some other things which we will be passing out after spring break to entice people to come out to the show.”

Ford plans on doing some more publicity for the show and attract as many students as he can to attend the show.

Ford said that the theater department at JU has put their own unique touch on the classic play. It is not the old traditional Hamlet students are used to but one with a different perspective. Not wanting to give too much away of the show, Ford kept quiet on how the play is actually planned out. He did confirm that there were going to be changes to the costumes, props, scenery and many other things.

JU’s production of “Hamlet” will still have all the same characters Shakespeare created centuries ago. However, the show’s director, Professor Deborah Jordan, has cleverly devised a way so that the lines can be understood by the audiences by accompanying with hand motions and even cutting some lines down. The theater professors have also been helping the students feel more connected to their characters so their performance will have a certain depth to it. Mitchell One, who plays Laertes, said that he usually starts off with trying to find similarities between the character and himself.

“I just try to find the similarities,” One said. “Then I find the differences; both mental and physical, and after that I begin to form the internal and external makeup of Laertes. Things such as how Laertes would walk, what would he be thinking about, how he would hold sword in my case.”

The show is surely building up excitement and hopefully will attract students looking for something other than extra credit for their English classes.

“Hamlet” plays in Swisher Theater from April 7 through April 10, and then from April 14 through April 17. All plays begin at 7:30 p.m. The show is free for all JU students.

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