Waiting for Horatio
Throughout the centuries, "Hamlet" has taken many forms. From the Elizabethan grace of William Shakespeare's heyday to Mel Gibson to the sniping luxury-driven world of New York corporate warfare ---- many directors and actors have tried to leave their mark in Denmark.
At 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Eudora High School, Hamlet will get a new look ---- two of them, in fact.
The high school drama department will present "Horatio Will Be Late," by Burton Bumgarner ---- a play that borrows "Hamlet's" trick of a play within a play.
In "Horatio," the hard-luck Stratford High School drama department attempts to stage the bard's masterwork only to see it blow up in their collective faces.
Missing leads, flammable makeup, and a dyslexic professional actor with a penchant for puffy shirts all play a part in the madcap production.
Eudora High School English teacher Heather Lawrence is the director.
She said she chose the play because some of the students wanted to try Shakespeare.
"As a drama director in high school, (putting on Shakespeare) scares me to death, and this is why," Lawrence said.
The production was challenging because of the disparity of the student's schedules, with sports and other responsibilities, Lawrence said.
"This has been extremely difficult, but we've rallied together and made the most of it," Lawrence said.
Through tribulation, the actors in the story pull the production together, while the actors from EHS thrill in ripping it apart.
"It's kind of awkward because I always feel I should be breaking into song," senior Amanda Gordon who has been in past EHS musicals, said. "For me it's really special because it will be my last theater performance in Eudora."
Gordon plays Miss Duncan, the director who tries to save the production despite problem after problem popping up just as it seems she has something solved.
The production is Paul Chaffin's second this year.
"It's kind of like you're acting like bad actors," Chaffin said. "It's a complete disaster."
Chaffin plays Zack: a professional actor/pizza cook who fills in for the role of Horatio. The original actor is out because of an appendectomy.
Having only learned the role of Hamlet and being completely dyslexic, havoc ensues when he attempts to read Horatio's lines from cue cards.
Zack's trouble culminates during a fist fight for the famous, "...to be or not to be," soliloquy when he spars with the real Hamlet line for line.
"Anyone who loves comedy will really appreciate this," Chaffin said.