You are the artistic director for a local theatrical company. You’ve received an arts council grant to put on a production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, with one catch: you’re to modernize it. You may use contemporary settings (but keep the language), you may rearrange scenes, you can include recent music as a soundtrack (or set scenes in a nightclub, with appropriate music), or even, if you wish, update the language itself. What would you do, and why? Be thorough, be convincing, and link your ideas to passages in the text. While it’s conventional to cite Shakespeare passages “3.3.112,”(meaning, Act 3, Scene 3, line 112, which sometimes is written III.iii.112), for our purposes, we can be more casual, and you may just list the NITL page or pages in a regular MLA parenthesis. If you rely on outside sources—always a good idea—cite those too, always following MLA format. A play worth being aware of (also made into a movie) is Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, which updates Hamlet to include existential philosophy and sideways allusions to Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.
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