There will be zombies and commercials, but not a lick of iambic pentameter in Hermiston High School’s production of “Hamlet Thrill-ma-geddon” by Dan Zolidis.
The production, directed by language arts teacher and drama club advisor Beth Anderson, is being brought to life by 40 high school students. And apparently, it’s really funny.
“It’s very hard not to break character; there’s lots of dark humor. If you don’t like traditional plays, it’s one to come to,” said senior Justin Goucher, 17, who plays Polonius, the counselor to King Claudius in “Hamlet.”
In Shakespeare’s famous work, Prince Hamlet seeks revenge against his uncle, who killed Hamlet’s father and married his mother to gain access to the throne in Denmark.
“Hamlet Thrill-ma-geddon” begins when a student drama club faces serious budget cuts and uses corporate sponsorship and interspersed live commercials to fund their production of “Hamlet.”
“It has ‘Hamlet’ in the title, but it has nothing to do with Hamlet really,” said sophomore Malachi Andersen, 16, who plays Hamlet’s close friend Rosencrantz.
Act I of the play is sponsored by Disney, and it shows, as Danish villagers prance around stage during a catchy musical number. Hamlet, played by sophomore Aurelio Marin, dances about happily while singing about how he must kill his uncle.
In a different scene, Hamlet’s uncle, King Claudius and mother, Queen Gertrude, sit upon thrones in the spacious Dr.Pepper Castle.
Carnival Cruise Lines sponsors another scene, and royal subjects can be seen tanning in lounge chairs.
“It’s a complete perversion of both ‘Hamlet’ and the advertising business,” Goucher said. “Sometimes it’s about mental health, we’re poking fun and also raising awareness.”
“Hamlet Thrill-ma-geddon” shows Nov. 22 and 23 at 7 p.m. at the Hermiston High School Auditorium.
Ticket prices are $2 for students, $5 for adults, and $4 for senior citizens 65 years and older with ID.