ENG 4U 2011: Of Ghosts and Ghost-Writing

Of Ghosts….

Today, we examine Act I Scene v, when Hamlet encounters the ghost of his father. One production captures this scene beautifully; first, we will watch the encounter, and then watch Hamlet’s soliloquy.

Next, you need to prepare for a short lecture about the role of ghosts in Elizabethan times.

…and Ghost-Writing

Congratulations! You have collectively been hired by a tv executive to produce a made-for-TV version of Hamlet.  Sadly, because you are high school students, the studio can’t give you credit; instead, you will be ghost-writers, writing for others while they take the glory. Sound good?

Still, if you are disappointed by the lack of recognition, take heart.  The project looks promising: Michael Cera as the indecisive Hamlet, Russell Brand as the long-winded Polonius, Emma Watson as the sheltered Ophelia. The show has hit written all over it.

The problem, however, is that the entire broadcast can only be half an hour long. Thus, you have been asked to shorten the first act down to a handful of lines.  Here are your guidelines:

  • Each table will take one scene (we may have some duplication here)
  • You can write no more than 2 pages of dialogue for the scene (everyone must write the lines)
  • You must use common language. No Shakespearean language allowed.
  • You must concentrate on the big plot points and development. What is essential?
  • If you feel really creative, you can rewrite the characters to represent the casting choices outlined above. This step is optional.

Don’t worry if the lines don’t seem to flow together. Making sense has never been television’s strong point.

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