May 30th, 2024

Homeschooling co-op presents Shakespeare in the park

By ANNA SMITH on May 14, 2024.

Students take the stage at Kin Coulee Band Shell on Monday for their production of Hamlet.-News Photo Anna Smith

The Medicine Hat Learning Guild gathered parents, friends and fellow students at the Kin Coulee Band Shell for their portrayal of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

The guild, a homeschooling co-op, gathers students for one and a half days a week, said teacher Catherine Scott, with one of the classes taught during that period being their Shakespeare class.

“These kiddos have been working since September on this play,” said Scott. They do a different play each year, with Much Ado About Nothing and Midsummer Night’s Dream both taking the stage in previous years.

“This was our first drama. So I was nervous. But I think that the kids just did a great job,” said Scott. The young actors themselves express that memorizing the play had been a challenge, as much of it was complicated, but they enjoyed the experience greatly and getting to try out a different genre of subject matter for their yearly performance.

“This is our most successful one out of the three we’ve done so far, I think,” said Jensen Hersey, who played King Claudius for the production. Overall, the students enjoyed the high drama and getting to play through dramatic sword fights and deaths.

Young actress Breckyn Hersey, playing Ophelia, went so far as to say she couldn’t decide if her favourite scene was when her character descended into madness, or when her fellow actors have to carry her in for her own funeral.

“It’s such a highlight as a teacher, watching the kids grow. And through that they also get a really good understanding of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, which is wonderful,” said Scott. “When you work on something for so long, it’s such a reward to be able to present it and celebrate it with our families and our community.”

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