By Paul Tennant
---- — NORTH ANDOVER — “I can’t hear you!” director Tom Jaeger says to a budding young actor on the stage in the North Andover High School auditorium during a Thursday afternoon rehearsal. “You need to be much stronger!”
The NAHS Drama Guild is hard at work rehearsing “Hamlet,” which will be presented at the high school next weekend at the high school. Show times are 2 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16; and 2 p.m. Nov. 17. Tickets cost $10.
The Drama Guild will present “Hamlet” the following weekend in Lenox as part of the annual Fall Festival of Shakespeare. Jaeger and his fellow director, Conor Moroney, of Shakespeare & Company, are guiding the actors in their production of Shakespeare’s play about murder and intrigue in the Danish royal family.
“It’s a tragedy all around,” said Aidan Olsen, a senior who is already a veteran of several Drama Guild performances. This time he’s portraying Polonius, the lord chamberlain, whom Hamlet murders.
Carolyn Noyes, a senior, is one of five different actors playing Hamlet.
“He has several different personalities,” she explained. The other Hamlets are Juliet McFadden, Mackenzie Cochrane, Nadia Zawil and Shannon Hill.
Laertes, Polonius’ son, played by Joshua Lacourse, a senior, is outraged by his father’s murder. He eventually exacts his revenge on the tormented prince — his utterance, “To be or not to be, that is the question,” is well-known — and kills him in a duel. Laertes, however, is also slain in that fight.
“Hamlet” is performed more than any other English language play, according to both the Drama Guild members and Jaeger. The version that the Drama Guild is working on is unique.
Instead of being clad in Elizabethan era costumers, cast members will be wearing 1930s-style clothing.
“Lots of wool, leather, suspenders,” said Karen Kramer, costumer designer for this production.
This will mark the 20th year that the Drama Guild has produced a play by the English-speaking world’s premier playwright and competed in the Fall Festival of Shakespeare.