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the lake forest leader | November 3, 2016 | 21

Woodlands Academy brings Hamlet to the 20th Century

Alexandra Greenwald

Freelance Reporter

Under the direction of

English and theater teacher

Shannon Walsh, Woodlands

Academy of the Sacred

Heart students moved

Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”

from its native Denmark to

Latin America, brought the

action into the 20th century

and swapped Claudius’s

crown for a dictator’s military

cap. And, of course,

all the actors were women.

“Hamlet” was performed

at Woodlands

Academy’s Susan Saint

James Performing Arts

Center from Thursday-

Saturday Oct. 27 to Oct.


Walsh said that the decision

to put on Hamlet

wasn’t influenced by her

all-female cast - she just

wanted to see it done well.

“I saw a production

that was three hours long

and set in the era that it

was written in, and I was

bored,” Walsh said. “And I

love Hamlet so much that

I didn’t want to leave with

that taste in my mouth.

I want to do it so that we

could put some life into


For the cast, inhabiting

“Hamlet’s” masculine and

often patriarchal world

was both natural as students

at an all-girls school

and liberating, said costume

and concept director

and actor in the titular role

Arabella McMenamin-


“It makes the characters

very relatable,” Mc-

Teagan Wilkins, a junior from Waukegan, pantomimes

Ophelia’s tragic death.

Menamin-Walshe said.

“Women can relate to the

character because we’re

all female, but then also

it’s a male character, so it

becomes sort of a gender

fluid character that isn’t

confined by any gender

norms at all, and that’s

part of the liberation

of it.”

One of Walsh’s tactics

for enlivening the script

was to divide the title

character in two, with Catie

Slaughter as Hamlet’s

physical, public persona

Please see Hamlet, 24

Senior Mari Brady, of Grayslake, prays for forgiveness

as Claudius at the dress rehearsal on Oct. 25 at

Woodlands Academy. Photos by Claire Esker/22nd

Century Media




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