Hamlet the musical

21 Nov

A post on Making Curriculum Pop about adaptions of Shakespeare’s Hamlet got me thinking about ways to help students better understand what is happening in the play.  After all, we cannot except students to write inspired responses to the play if they do not understand the events and characters.

One approach is, as suggested on MCPop, is to encourage students to engage with the story in more familiar settings.  One of the easiest ways to do this is to screen segments of the Hamlet episode of The Simpsons (here).  Another option would be to note parallels between the Hamlet plot and elements of beloved Disney movies (here).

There are also opportunities to shift the focus so that students are creating the adaptations.  For example, students could represent key elements of the Hamlet plot to the tune of a well known song.  Youtube provides two great parodies: ‘Hamlet Style‘ to the tune of Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ and a Hamlet-ified version of Macklemore’s ‘Thrift Shop‘.

A simpler, but still student-driven, activity would be to task students with selecting a song that best captures the mood/character dynamic at key moments in the play.  Students would have to justify their choices in writing, thus demonstrating that they have thought about the emotions, moods and dynamics captured in their allocated/chosen moment.

Students could then be tasked with dramatizing the melding of music and Shakespeare as shown in this clip.  If the activity is organised so that all of the play’s key moments are covered, the moments could then be stitched together as ‘Hamlet: the musical’, with a screening for the grade and/or parents.

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One Response to “Hamlet the musical”

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  1. I will follow you… | Once uPUN a time... - January 17, 2014

    […] have written previously about music in the classroom (both English and History); not only does music enable students to hone their listening skills, but it also […]

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