Having Fun with Hamlet

Shakespeare can be a challenge with teens, they often have pretty fixed ideas about how difficult/boring/old-fashioned his work is.

So here’s how we “did” Hamlet:

Lesson 1:

Imagine how you would react in the following situations-

  1. Your dad died a couple of months ago and your mum has already remarried…
  2. She has married your uncle…
  3. He has also taken over the family business your dad set up…
  4. Someone has told you that your uncle is actually responsible for your dad’s death…
  5. Your sister commits suicide after having been dumped by her boyfriend…

We also looked at if +would when answering these questions.

Leeson 2 & 3:

It might seem like a cop-out to use a modern-language version of the play, but then it depends on your objectives, mine at this point are for the students to LOVE Shakespeare and beg for more.

Therefore we acted out The 10 minute Hamlet  by “playing with plays”.


A few props really help everyone see who is who; you’ll notice Claudius  has devil’s horns, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern have clown wigs, Polonius has a white wig, and Gertrude has a fetching, queenlike headscarf (hiding “her” crewcut! – The class voted for the starring roles, and in true Shakespearean style, the queen of Danemark is played by a boy).

The rest of the class made their own props from card, a crown for Hamlet, BFF sign for Horatio, the students had to think about what would best represent their role in the play.

Despite being called ” the 10 minute play”, by the time we’d prepared roles and then stopped to take stock, discuss what we thought was going to happen, etc. acting the play took two 50-minute lessons.

Lesson 4:

This was taken up with talking about what each character SHOULD + HAVE +PP. We then compared this with what everyone had said in lesson 1, the differences were quite interesting.

To be continued…


About fabenglishteacher

enjoying sharing learning
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2 Responses to Having Fun with Hamlet

  1. Cristina Bueno says:

    You are a wonderful teacher, your students are soo lucky!!! Congratulations for your Shakespeare work!!!!

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